The European Commission initiated IPv6 (Internet protocol version 6) task force and the IPv6 promotion council of Japan have approved a cooperation agreement to foster promotion and deployment and garner support for the new generation IPv6. IPv6 is the new protocol designed to improve upon today's Internet. The protocol supports new features and enhances others, including larger address space, end-to-end connectivity, 'plug & play' auto configuration, built in security, mobility, multicast, anycast, larger data packets, renumbering and extensibility. 'Political developments have effectively set the agenda for the second phase of the IPv6 task force. I am convinced the successful completion of this next phase will contribute significantly to the deployment of IPv6 throughout Europe by 2005, in line with the target of the new eEurope action plan 2005,' said EU Commissioner for Information Society and Enterprise, Erkki Liikanen. At the Barcelona Council in March 2002, Europe's leaders awarded priority status to the development of IPv6. This was followed in June by a call on Member States from the Telecommunications Council to take further steps towards the deployment of IPv6. 'The initiative of the European Commission under Commissioner Erkki Liikanen to re-conduct the mandate of the successful IPv6 task force into the second phase is another strategic milestone to push forward this large scale undertaking,' said Chairman of the IPv6 task force, Latif Ladid. The phase two initiative will initiate national and regional IPv6 task forces and encourage global cooperation in order to fine tune the IPv6 road map. This will lead to 'design of aggressive programmes in research and early deployment across the entire European landscape to advance forceful knowledge and expertise in industry and research,' said Mr Ladid. Professor Jun Murai, Chairman of the IPv6 promotion council of Japan noted the recent progress in this area. 'IPv6 has already taken off. In 2002, we have witnessed its widespread use among well established services and applications in such forms as OS, IPv6 connectivity service, routers and remote controllers. [...] In 2001, the IPv6 promotion council of Japan gained much experience from the IPv6 field trial involving over 800 general users on commercial network nationwide. I believe that Japan and the EU will jointly achieve success in advancing IPv6 by sharing our deployment experiences,' he said.