History and Organization
With the rapid growth of the Internet in Japan, assigning and registering domain names under JP and IP addresses delegated from the NIC for Japan became too heavy to be carried out by Internet pioneers or voluntary groups. Under this situation, Japan NIC pilot project (we called it JNIC)  had started since Dec. 1991 under JCRN (Japan Committee of Research Networks), which is a similar organization to CCIRN, obtaining cooperation from all the NSPs in Japan. This pilot project aimed at determination of the requirements and means to fulfill the smooth operation of Japan NIC.
After one and half years pilot term of Japan NIC under JCRN, JPNIC has been established by all the NSPs in Japan since Apr. 1993 as an independent organization. Since JPNIC has been received no funds nor donation from the government or other organizations for executing its operation, JPNIC has been forced to drive funding self-supported, which is unusual in the Internet. All the member NSP of JPNIC shall pay annual membership fee according to its size. Although it is hard to collect money from many organizations, JPNIC becomes a fair organization everyone think so.
Function as an Internet Registry or IR for Japan is delegated from APNIC and IANA to JPNIC, but JPNIC is an independent organization executing the role of IR as well as other common functions for Japanese Internet.
There were several motivations to do the local IR function in Japan. First, we wanted a quick response from the IR. We thought that if an application was reviewed and its assignment carried out in the country, it would improve the response time. Second, we wanted to use our language. If the Internet was getting popular, applications and corresponding to the IR should be done in the local language. Finally, we should share some part of executing the IR function anyway, but situation might vary among countries. We wanted to choose our viable contribution way to the role of the IR at that time.
Four important daily operations are assigning IP addresses, allocating JP domain names, registering these numbers and names, and providing network information via several methods such as whois. JPNIC has accumulated a lot of record and experience in doing these operations.
JPNIC assigns Class C addresses delegated from APNIC for Japan following the criteria written in RFC 1466. However, that task needs a lot of efforts due to these reasons; 1) It needs much corresponding with the applicant because there are very few consultants in Japan who has enough knowledge on current and comming engineering technologies such as CIDR and VLSM, and 2) Ambiguity of the criteria stated in RFC 1466 also bothers our staffs when making a daily decision. Most of the applications JPNIC received fall into exception.
JPNIC also reviews an application for Class B address before sending it to the upper IR and delegates CIDR blocks to NSPs based on their future estimation. JPNIC has published a Japanese translated version of RFC 1466 along with JPNIC's application form written in Japanese.
We have both attributed domain names (similar to EDU, COM, etc.) and geographical domain names (similar to the US domain) under the top domain JP. The Internet has been getting much popular in Japan even to regional communities and individuals, so we had to introduce the way to make the name space wider. There are provider dependent domain names for individuals and geographical domain names for individuals and regional communities. Every countries will have own domain structure depending on their social systems.
JPNIC uses an original application form which we keep convertible to ones that APNIC or InterNIC uses. It needs additional fields to describe information in Japanese. Information about domain names, network numbers, name servers, contact persons, and NSPs written in both Japanese and English are collected into JPNIC database to be retrieved via the whois system developped in JPNIC. JPNIC cooperates with APNIC and InterNIC to keep the database consistent. JPNIC begins gathering pointers about network related information to provide them in various methods such as WWW.
We think that organizational and financial independence was the most important, but it has not been fully achieved. JPNIC has started with the minimum fund based on membership fee. Current JPNIC secretariat locates in a university without charge and some voluntary staffs are still working and inevitable. We have to make a proper funding scheme. Charging to individual organizations for handling applications is under discussion. In addition, charging for resources will be one of choices because we need some pressure to save common and limited resources. We have created an open working group to discuss our funding issue with keeping consistency to APNIC's funding model.
 Jun Murai, Hiroyuki Kusumoto, and Masaki Hirabaru: ``WIDE Project Overview: Status Report of 1992'', Proceedings of INET'92, ISOC, pp. 113--120, Jun. 1992.