The Japanese government has firmed up its IT budget for 2014. The government’s new CIO formally made the decision on budget priorities, based on submissions from each ministry and agency. Efforts to increase interministerial cooperation seem to be having an effect. In the new budget, the number of budget line items involving more than one ministry have doubled, while the overall number of line items have declined by 10%. The total budget comes to approximately 122 billion yen (1.2 billion dollars).
One of the key elements contained in this plan was to gather and potentially coordinate policies of various ministries concerning “Open Data”. “Open Data” is public data that can be used in various scenarios by companies, but its use is subject to different policies depending on the ministry concerned.
In Japan, there is no central entity responsible for the direction of IT policy, so it is ultimately up to the ministries themselves to make laws concerning IT in their own field.
Koichi Endo, former vice-president of RICOH, was appointed last year as CIO and given responsibility for coordinating the IT budget. He has encouraged ministries and agencies to save money by avoiding duplicative spending in the budget, which is a perennial problem in Japan.
Japan’s CIO was appointed only last year and this is the first budget to be drawn up under his coordination. There is a long way to go, but the initial results appear encouraging. What is less clear is how the budget is actually linked to the priorities announced in the administration’s IT Strategy Plan last June.