Information and Society Research Division

OKADA Hitoshi
Information and Society Research Division, Associate Professor
Degrees: From Osaka University, Japan Dr. International Public Policy
Research Fields: Information Public Policy


Creating social systems that promote electronic commerce

My research concerns public policies on consumer behavior in the world of electronic commerce and security policies for universities and other organizations.

Right now, the Internet has spread fairly widely. It lets people easily do business with people located far away, or with people in other countries. Japanese laws--for example, Civil Law--didn't foresee the nature of these business transactions when they were established. So unexpected circumstances have to be handled through the flexible interpretation of existing laws or by passing new laws. New laws have to comply with not just existing domestic laws, but international and overseas legal systems, too.

Examining the behavior of Japanese consumers and overseas consumers in electronic commerce

To better understand consumer behavior, I'm studying trends in electronic commerce and electronic cash in Japan, China, and South Korea. At the beginning of 2006, I performed a user survey in Japan and China over the Internet and analyzed the differences in risk and convenience experienced by Internet users in these countries.

I discovered Chinese consumers read reviews of products posted by others before purchasing high-quality products, while Japanese consumers tended to buy products at certain stores to accumulate the bonus points issued with purchases. A similar survey in South Korea in the beginning of 2007 showed high rates of repeat purchases through online retail sites. I plan to carry out surveys in various other countries to identify the behavioral patterns of Internet users--something that's gone relatively unexamined up to now.

Proposing security policies for institutions of higher education

As part of my research on security, I participated as a sub-leader in a workgroup seeking to establish information security policies for universities and other educational institutions. This workgroup compiled the results of joint efforts on February 26, 2007, posting a "Collection of Sample Regulations for Information Security Measures for Institutions of Higher Education" on the Website of the National Institute of Informatics.

Construction of a safe and secure advanced academic infrastructure requires effective response to information security problems faced by universities and other institutions in Japan. Using the collection of regulations for information security policies mentioned above lets universities establish effective, high-level security policies.

My goal is to continue pursuing my research interests with experts at various universities to propose well-balanced information security measures that support the research and educational efforts in universities.

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Interviewed and summarized by Atsushi Saito