Japan's NTT to be Y2K-ready by June

Japan's largest telecommunications company on Tuesday said that by June all of its communications and support systems will be upgraded or changed to avoid the year 2000 (Y2K) problem.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) in April and July will commission auditors from outside the company to test its systems, NTT officials said.

The year 2000 problem is caused by software code that uses a two-digit field to represent a year. When the year changes, the software will represent 2000 as '00', which a system would interpret as '1900'. The miscalculation could cause the system to fail.

In general, Japanese companies are just now disclosing their plans for dealing with the Y2K problem. Many observers have voiced concern over the state of Japan's readiness for handling the problem, which some say, if not remedied, could shut down critical infrastructure such as telecommunications and electric power systems.

NTT officials said that as of December 1998 it had modified 92 per cent of its communications systems to resolve the Y2K problem.

The company may also assist other Japanese telecom carriers in dealing with the computer glitch to "create confidence in the nation's telecom infrastructure", officials said. NTT may simulate interconnections with other carriers to test overall Y2K readiness, they said.

The Japanese telco has been studying the Y2K problem since March 1995 and in November of that year launched a project to deal with the problem.

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