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First Steps: Telecommunications (1923-1949)

"Computers" is the first thing that comes to mind for many people when they think of Fujitsu. But since its foundation, Fujitsu has striven to strengthen the very fabric of society with its innovative information and communications technologies.

Photo of "Step-by-Step" Automatic Switching System (H type)

This photograph shows an automatic switching system, a type of switchboard once used for connecting parties over telephone lines. But what does it have to do with Fujitsu?

Turn back the clock to 1923. The Great Kanto Earthquake had destroyed much of the public infrastructure of Tokyo and Yokohama, including the telecommunications facilities. In its efforts to restore telecommunications services, the Ministry of Post (currently the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) decided to adopt automatic switching systems that had just started being introduced in Europe and America.

Prior to automatic switching systems, operators manually connected two parties over a telephone line using a manual switchboard. As the number of telephone users grew, so did the human burden. The Ministry of Post sought to solve the problem by introducing automatic switching. This sparked the remarkable development of telecommunications in Japan.

Contributing to the development was Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.. The company was originally established in 1923 as a joint venture between the Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. and Siemens AG of Germany to spur production of generators and electric motors in Japan. Fuji Electric imported and sold switchboards and telecommunications equipment made by Siemens but later on succeeded in manufacturing an automatic switching system on its own.

In 1935, Fuji Tsushinki (Note*1) Manufacturing Co., Ltd., the company that later became Fujitsu Limited, was founded as an offshoot of the communications division of Fuji Electric.

Fujitsu had been launched by using pioneering technology to contribute to the development of Japan's highly public telecommunications infrastructure.

Note*1:"Tsushinki" is the Japanese word for telecommunications equipment.

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