The fate of researchers at NTT, Japan's telecommunications company, has been hanging in the balance since 1982, when the debate first began about whether to split-up NTT. The next decision is due in March 1997. Professor Fujimoto briefly traces the history of the debate and considers the possible consequences of a split: Would it encourage or discourage competitiveness? What would be the effect on long-term, fundamental research compared to short-term, product-oriented projects? The present organizational structure of NTT's R & D is outlined.