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An Interview with Kyoto Governor Yamada was published in the Kyoto Shimbun Morning Edition on January 3


Promoting the Kyoto Brand with the New Domain ".kyoto"

Dialogue Governor of Kyoto Prefecture(on the left) Keiji Yamada × Wataru Hasegawa Chairman of The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics, Kyoto Computer Gakuin, and President of Kyoto Prefecture Information Industry Association (on the right)

Kyoto brand domain is born “.kyoto”

Hasegawa:The top-level domain ".kyoto," is finally starting. A top-level domain refers to the sequence of characters at the end of a URL, which is the address on the Internet, such as ".jp" or ".com". Domains based on geographical names are being introduced all over the world. ".kyoto" signifies the birth of Kyoto in cyberspace, a virtual space where various information flows within computer networks. In 2012, with the support from Kyoto Prefecture, the "Cyber Kyoto Laboratory" established by KCG Group, including Kyoto Computer Gakuin and The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics, members of the Kyoto Prefecture Information Industry Association, was entrusted with the management and operation (registry) of ".kyoto."

Yamada:To create a domain for a specific region, it is necessary to obtain the letter of support from the local municipalities. Kyoto Prefecture established a review committee composed of experts about three years ago and solicited bids for the management operator. KCG Group was chosen because of its long-standing track record in the IT field and its proactive ideas for domain utilization in Kyoto. Also, the fact that KCG being a public-minded educational institution is the other reason we decided to entrust KCG with the domain’s management.

Hasegawa:While there are about 2,000 new top-level domains worldwide, Kyoto is the only geographical name top-level domain managed by university or educational institution. The U.S. top-level domains, ".edu", ".mil" and ".gov", are limited to users in education, the military, and government, respectively. However, widely used domains like ".com" have spread worldwide, resulting in a mix of information, including adult content and "phishing scams." ".jp" also became mixed in this trend. This is why ".kyoto" will only allow the corporations, organizations, and individuals who have relations with Kyoto Prefecture, as its users. For example, the Urasenke tea ceremony school will use "" This is how ".kyoto" will certify all over the world that the information on your computer is “originated from Kyoto brand domain.

Yamada:Traditionally domain names are available to anyone, making it something of a lawless area. In this sense, the birth of a secure ".kyoto" is significant. The world-famous ancient city of Kyoto is highly regarded as the birthplace of Japanese culture and has strong brand value. It is also a significant driver of the local economy. If this were to be damaged, it would be a significant loss for all of Kyoto. Therefore, I hope the Cyber Kyoto Laboratory will focus on embodying Kyoto's dignity and cultural essence through ".kyoto." I also believe that Kyoto Prefecture should collaborate closely. The Cyber Kyoto Laboratory has been certified as the very first tenant of the "Keihanna Open Innovation Center (KICK)" (formerly known as "Watashino shigotokan"), which Kyoto Prefecture has been working on to create an advanced research base. We have high expectations for research and development to establish the importance of education using IT.

A new Kyoto ―the intersection of virtual and real space―

Hasegawa:At our institution, the ".kyoto" project is regarded as our social education contribution. As part of e-learning, learning process through the Internet, users will be provided the contents ranging from basic IT knowledge to cutting-edge information. I believe that through ".kyoto", Information Technology utilization of all of Kyoto Prefecture will advance significantly. In the movie "The Matrix," people entered cyberspace, but the Internet is already an important part of human consciousness, and the term "net society" has been coined. With "Cyber Kyoto," we aim to establish clear rules from the beginning and create a new Kyoto where the cyber and real worlds are closely integrated. For example, on the website of Kyoto department stores with the domain "○○.kyoto," the real store may have 8 floors, but the cyber store can have 100 floors. So, by turning the URL into a barcode or QR code and placing it at the entrance and various sections to check the product availability using mobile or smartphones, customers can check both real and cyber products on the spot. For well-known streets like, "," you can access information about shops and companies on Kawaramachi Street while walking. Through domains, Kyoto City will become highly Internet-connected. If the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes highly realized, where everything in reality is linked to the Internet, Kyoto will see significant economic benefits. There is no such attempt anywhere in the world yet. I would like the governor to become the governor of "Cyber Kyoto."

Yamada:A new Kyoto that has never existed is about to be born from the intersection of virtual and real space. So, reliable operation and management are essential. The responsibility that comes with ".kyoto" domain is heavy. If there is a complaint, it must be addressed promptly by the registry. In an age where the domain credibility is raised as a concern, I hope that Kyoto Prefecture will keep supporting the effective use of ".kyoto."

Sites that deviate from ethical standards will be excluded

Hasegawa:The complaints often revolve around domains with easily mistaken strings of characters. In fact, there is a ".com domain" in China that is very similar to a company in Kyoto, displaying products very similar to those of the Kyoto company. Such instances of "one-letter making a big difference" are prevalent because the government and domain administrators did not exercise control over domains. ".kyoto" will exclude confusing domains and harmful or illegal sites. We are an educational institution, so we strongly reject not only these sites but also those that deviate from ethical standards. This is where the strength of educational institutions and universities as administrators lies.

Yamada:I could imagine the change going from "Yamada's black market" to a select shop or transitioning from uncertain information to highly reliable information. In the world of the internet, ".kyoto" will bring great security and potential to the future of Kyoto. We want to revitalize the creation of a new Kyoto centered around ".kyoto" together with all of Kyoto.

Hasegawa:Thank you. I believe that ".kyoto" could give rise to a new future city where the real-world Kyoto and the cyberspace Kyoto are closely intertwined. To achieve this ideal, we hope for the understanding and cooperation of the people of Kyoto.

Keiji Yamada

Keiji Yamada

Keiji Yamada, after graduating from the University of Tokyo Faculty of Law, joined the Ministry of Home Affairs (now the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications). He held positions such as Counselor in the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and became the Director General of Administration Department of Kyoto Prefecture in 1999. He was elected as the Vice Governor of Kyoto Prefecture in 2001 and as the Governor of Kyoto Prefecture in 2002. He is currently in his fourth term and has been serving as the Chairman of the National Governors' Association since April 2011.


Wataru Hasegawa

Wataru Hasegawa graduated from Waseda University and earned a degree from the Graduate School of Education at Columbia University in the United States. He is a professor and the Chairman at The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics, as well as the Chairman of the Kyoto Information Industry Association. Since 2013, he also has been serving the Chairman of the Association of Regional Information Industry Associations (ANIA).

Kyoto Shimbun, January 3, 2015 (PDF)