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Safety and Security

Ensure Stability and Reliability of Telecommunications Services

Relevant GRI Standards: 103-2/413-1/203-1

Relevant SDGs

  • INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

    9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

  • SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

    11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

  • RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

    12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

Policies and Concepts

As a corporate group with the mission of serving society by sustaining telecommunications infrastructure in normal times, the NTT Group is committed to building highly reliable telecommunications networks that connect people anytime, anywhere. Since telecommunications takes on a greater importance in the event of a disaster, we endeavor to secure the means of communication necessary for maintaining public order and for rescue and restoration operations at times of disasters, and for emergency communications, such as 110, 118, and 119. Japan is a country particularly prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons. The importance of telecommunications networks was reaffirmed by the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake. Facing the possibility of an earthquake directly underneath Tokyo or the Nankai Trough off Japan's southern coastline, there is a pressing need for society to prepare for such potential disasters while ensuring the stability and reliability of its telecommunications infrastructure.

The NTT Group has defined three key themes for disaster countermeasures: securing critical communications, prompt restoration of telecommunications services, and improving network reliability. We have been strengthening efforts based on these themes since the Great East Japan Earthquake. We have also included Disaster Countermeasure Initiatives in our medium-term management strategy and are making a focused effort to further reinforce the communications infrastructure, seek proactive disaster response, and adequately provide information to the affected people.

NTT Group's Basic Policy on Disaster Countermeasures

Organization for Implementation

Five Group companies --NTT, NTT East, NTT West, NTT Communications, and NTT DOCOMO-- are designated public institutions under the Basic Act on Disaster Control Measures. Accordingly, based on this Act, in preparation for a disaster, the NTT Group has formulated the Disaster Management Operation Plan for the purpose of smooth, appropriate implementation of measures to prevent damage. Each company has prepared their respective Disaster Management Operation Plan by organizing response efforts that are mobilized at the time of a disaster in a manner proportionate to the scope and circumstances of the situation. At the same time, we will maintain close contact with the relevant government institutions to ensure a smooth and appropriate recovery from the disaster and secure critical communications.

We are also taking measures in normal times to improve the reliability of our telecommunications infrastructure. To ensure that our telecommunications services operate without interruption at all times, we employ transmission trunk line multi-routing, have enacted blackout countermeasures for telecommunications buildings and base stations, and are making telecommunications buildings more quake-proof. In addition, we are expanding the assortment of power supply vehicles and other disaster response equipment that we have positioned throughout Japan and are repeatedly conducting training to prepare for major natural disasters. We are making a daily effort to secure the necessary emergency and critical communications.

Main Initiatives

Securing Critical Communications

To secure necessary communications in the event of a disaster, the NTT Group is implementing various response measures, including the installation of emergency-use public phones, a mobile phone lending service in affected areas, and providing means to confirm the safety of people in affected areas. We simultaneously install multiple lines to secure connections to the headquarters of the police department, fire department, and coast guard to prepare against the possibility that the 110, 119 and 118 emergency call services may be damaged.

A major disaster could also lead to social disorder, such as the disruption of transport systems. In such an event, we would consider the overall situation, including whether other telecommunications carriers have put restrictions on mobile and fixed line phones and, if necessary, offer the use of public phones for free.*

*We will not charge carriers for which we have set call fees and will not settle payments between carriers for which we have set connection fees. For the specific names of carriers, please refer to the following websites. (Japanese only)

Providing Services for Easy Safety Status Checking and Information Gathering When Disaster Strikes

The NTT Group launches and provides the following services to enable people to confirm the safety of relatives and friends in areas hit by a major disaster that has disrupted phone connections.

Main Services

171 Disaster Emergency Message Dial We store recorded voice messages left by users to confirm the safety of those in affected areas
Web 171 Disaster Message Board We store text messages left by users via the Internet
Disaster Voice Messaging Service (i-mode/sp-mode/mopera U) We deliver voice messages reporting the status of personal safety via mobile phone
Disaster Message Board Service (i-mode/sp-mode) We store text messages left by users via mobile phone

When we launch these emergency services in the event of a disaster or other contingency, we promptly inform our customers through the mass media, website and other means.

By integrating the Web 171 Disaster Message Board with the Disaster Message Board Service for mobile and PHS phones (i-mode/sp-mode), we have also made it possible to conduct one-stop searches spanning both services from the companies providing those services. There are additional functions for notifying designated contacts by e-mail or voice when safety status information is posted. We are continuing to make improvements, such as by offering support in English, Chinese and Korean for the Web 171 Disaster Message Board, and in English for the Disaster Message Board Service (i-mode/sp-mode), increasing the number of messages that can be posted and extending message storage time.

With regard to the Web 171 Disaster Message Board, NTT East and NTT West agreed to collaborate with the disaster message boards operated by NTT DOCOMO, KDDI, and SoftBank to allow users to check each other's messages left with these carriers since August 2019.

Securing the Stability and Reliability of Telecommunications Services

The NTT Group is devoted to early restoration of telecommunications services by deploying and enhancing the functions of mobile power supply vehicles, portable satellite equipment and other mobile equipment as well as participating in disaster drills held in the respective regions. The NTT Group endeavors to build disaster-resistant communications infrastructure and maintain and operate it in a way that ensures its proper functioning at all times by conducting regular safety patrols, replacing devices as a preventive maintenance measure, and other such means, in an effort to develop disaster-resilient communication networks and equipment.

Ensuring the Disaster Resistance of Telecommunications Equipment

We also strive to enable telecommunications equipment housings, pylons and other facilities to withstand contingencies such as earthquakes, storms, flooding, fire and power outages in accordance with predetermined design standards.

Main Measures

  • NTT's telecommunications buildings and pylons are designed to withstand earthquakes of a seismic intensity of 7 on Japan's intensity scale and 60 m/sec winds experienced during the strongest typhoons
  • Our facilities are equipped with flood doors and other defenses according to location to prevent inundation of telecommunications equipment by tsunamis or floods
  • We equip our telecommunications equipment rooms with fire doors or shutters
  • Our telecommunications buildings and wireless base stations are fitted with backup power sources to keep them running for extended periods in the event of sudden power outages. As a further fallback, power supply vehicles can be hooked up to them to supply power
  • We use trunk line multi-routing to ensure that our telecommunications services operate without interruption at all times
  • We deploy large-zone base stations capable of covering wide areas during disasters and other emergency situations
  • We install emergency power supply fuel tanks

Increasing the Resilience of Equipment and Speeding Up Our Response

In recent years, disasters of greater magnitude have had significant impact. To address the increased impact on telecommunications equipment and services, as well as the longer time required to resume operations, we are also promoting additional initiatives toward such goals as increasing the resilience of our equipment and speeding up recovery.

Main Initiatives for Increasing the Resilience of Telecommunications Equipment

  • Expansion in medium-zone base stations equipped to deal with disasters, such as blackout countermeasures
  • Blackout countermeasures that use electric vehicles at base stations
  • Centralized management and mobilization of approximately 400 power supply vehicles owned by the NTT Group
  • Consideration of underground installation of power transmission cables and use of fixed line phones to deal with the impact of disasters

Main Initiatives for Speeding Up Service Recovery

  • Advanced launch of recovery framework (national wide-area support system and other frameworks) based on damage prediction using AI
  • Reinforcement of the recovery framework and recruitment of personnel, including the use of retired NTT employees

Initiatives for Bolstering Support for Disaster Victims

  • Delivery of realistic and concise information, including status of damage to communications, status of recovery, location of charging stations, public phones in operation during disasters, information for visitors and foreign residents, and more to support evacuation and other activities
  • Response to consultations on problems related to communications through emergency 113 call centers dispatched to affected areas
  • Collaboration with local governments and other public offices for installing Wi-Fi and charging stations inside public phone booths to secure telecommunications during a disaster

Providing Stable Telecommunications Services in Normal Times

To consistently provide secure telecommunications services to our users, the NTT Group operates a system for monitoring its telecommunications networks, implements measures for preventing accidents and failures, and works to enhance the skills of personnel responsible for network maintenance and operations.

Initiatives for Maintaining Stable Telecommunications Services

  • Operational system for monitoring and controlling the status of network operations on a real-time basis, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Collection and analysis of performance data for telecommunications equipment under ordinary circumstances to identify and deal with signs of failure
  • Development of system that enables a fast, accurate response to unexpected incidents, and revised procedures
  • Application of lessons learned from past accidents to similar cases and thorough reinforcement of standard procedures based on an analysis of cases that may result in serious accidents
  • Implementation of training and drills and development of related mechanisms for fostering personnel handling network maintenance and operations

Providing Stable Telecommunications Services to Address a Large Spike in Demand Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

NTT and its major subsidiaries in the telecommunications business have formulated operation plans to execute their responsibilities as designated public institutions and contribute to preventing infections from the standpoint of respecting human life. The spread of infections has been accompanied by an increased demand for Internet use and telework, significantly increasing data traffic, particularly between stationary communication terminals during daytime weekdays. The NTT Group companies have designed their existing networks to meet peak nighttime traffic and are currently capable of providing network capacity for daytime traffic. We will continue to bolster our equipment to deliver stable telecommunications services.

Operation of mobile phone base stations and terminals (NTT DOCOMO)

For more than 60 years, research has been conducted worldwide on the impact of radio waves on the human body. As a result, standards and systems have been put in place for the safe use of radio waves not only in Japan, but around the world, too.

In 1990, Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (presently the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) established its own Radio Radiation Protection Guidelines for Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (RRPG) as a set of reference values for the safety of radio waves on the human body based on the results of research conducted over the preceding 40 years both inside and outside Japan. The reference values of these guidelines are the same as those recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Radio waves below these reference values are recognized internationally as having no adverse effects on health.

Mobile base stations and terminals of NTT DOCOMO are operated at levels lower than the reference values of the RRPG. Services are provided in compliance with related laws and ordinances incorporating the RRPG, which ensures DOCOMO mobile phones can be safely used.