Cable & Wireless HKT has received a facilities-based telecommunications licence in Japan. The licence, granted to Japanese subsidiary CWHKTP Japan, allows HKT to build and own its own infrastructure in Asia's largest market. It will also remain in the hands of HKT after the company's sale by Cable & Wireless to Pacific Century CyberWorks is finalised. The licence will eventually end up in the hands of the merged PCCW-HKT. It will put PCCW-HKT in direct competition with Cable & Wireless Japan, which operates an international telecoms gateway. In the past, HKT's telecoms services in Japan have been operated by Cable & Wireless. The Japan initiative is seen as an attempt by HKT to get a licence before it leaves the Cable & Wireless stable. Roger Barlow, director of international product development at HKT, denied the company's desire to operate a gateway in Japan had anything to do with its pending separation from C&W. 'Japan is the biggest telecoms market in Asia and second-largest market in the world . . . we are committed to enhancing our capabilities and skills to capture these opportunities and strengthen the company's position as a leading telecom company in Asia,' Mr Barlow said.