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Business trends

Japan and South Korea lag rivals in fiber-optic speeds as 5G nears

Weak investment for upgrades risks national competitiveness in new technologies

As homes and workplaces typically use optical lines via wireless local area networks, these optical line networks need to be improved to make the best use of 5G. (Nikkei montage/AP)

TOKYO/SEOUL -- Communications networks in Japan and South Korea are being overtaken by faster rivals around the world, and the lack of public and private incentives to invest in upgrades threatens the industrial competitiveness of Japan as fifth-generation wireless technology approaches commercialization.

Japan slipped to 23rd place last year in terms of fiber-optic and other high-speed fixed-line communications among the 36 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, after ranking seventh in 2015. South Korea also remains low, in 25th place last year.

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