Press Release

September 11, 1997
New Media Development Association

- Building the Infrastructure for Electronic Commerce -

The New Media Development Association (NMDA) has developed Japan's first electronic authentication system as a part of "the Promotion of Electronic Commerce Projects" founded by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry through the Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan. Starting tomorrow, the NMDA begins validation testing of the system, using public and private applications.

This electronic authentication system was developed to facilitate trustworthy transactions via the Electronic Commerce on the Internet. The system will ensure that companies and individual users can confidently utilize electronic commerce applications on the Internet and online services.

The system is based on four years of discussions and studies on the electronic-notary-public-system (since 1992) provided by the Electronic Network Consortium (ENC), for which the NMDA is the secretariat.

1. What is the Electronic Authentication System ?

With the dissemination of the Internet, attempts have been made to facilitate electronic business transactions that would replace paper work. This would require a fully protected electronic network as well as authorization activities conducted by a trusted third party. In this way, contracts and other highly important electronic documents could be safely transmitted on the network.

The electronic authentication system was developed to meet these requirements. It constitutes "an electronic information management system operated by an impartial third party. It is also a social and information system by which single- or multiple-users' registered electronic documents are filed for a given period by using a method and form of filing that prevents contents changes and deletions. The system is used to verify documents (who, when, which document, and to whom it was sent) when user-requested."

2. Electronic Authentication System Services

The electronic authentication system provides the following services for registered electronic documents: registering, filing, searching, issuing certificates, delivering, and authorizing document use by users other than those who registered the document.

The electronic authentication system scheduled for test run consists of two components, the Electronic Authentication Center and the Certificate Authority (CA). By using "write-once" data-recording media for saving the data in the Electronic Authentication Center, the data in the electronic authentication system are better protected from changes and deletion. This increases the system's ability to provide data evidence and reliable verification.

Furthermore, the IC cards and floppy diskettes containing the "secret key" and the "digital ID" issued by the CA enable users to encipher their data for secure transmission via E-mail, and to improve data security on the network.

3. Subjects for the Validation Test

The validity of the electronic authentication system is tested on applications widely used by the public. These include (a) the "on-line test application processing" program that processes via the Internet the application for the examination of Data Processing Engineers; (b) the "processing documents prepared by administrative solicitors" program that submits application forms and documents to public-service offices; and (c) the "managing the copyrights of electronic publications" program that protects and manages the copyrights of electronic publications.

To test the validity of the system with applications widely used in business, two programs are employed. These are (a) the "sales through outdoor terminals without a store" program that enables consumers to order products and to complete payment via a computer terminal installed on the street; and (b) the "antiquarian-book sales" program that via the Internet processes order-taking of antiquarian books with indeterminate pricing.

"On-line test-application processing" starts its test run on September 12, 1997. The test run for other applications will begin shortly.

4. Validation Test Overview

(1) On-Line Test Application Processing
- Test Run Description:
Presently the application forms for the Data Processing Engineer examination and for the Personal Computer Usage Technology certification examination are submitted by paper mail. By accepting these applications through the Internet via the electronic authentication system, a new environment is created for easy and accurate application processing.
- Test Run Facilitator:
SECOM Information System Co., Ltd.
- Supporting Organizations:
Data Processing Engineer Test Center, Japan Information Process Development Association
Personal Computer Usage Technology Association
- Users
Four-hundred individual monitors
Ten organizational monitors
- Test Run Duration:
September 12, 1997 to February 28, 1998

(2) Processing Documents Prepared by Administrative Solicitors
- Test Run Description:
The Agricultural Land Law, the Construction Rule, the regulations on waste management and clean-up, etc. require the submission and filing of legal documents prepared by an administrative scrivener. By using the Internet with the electronic authentication system, an environment is created for administrative solicitors and administrative officers safely to accept and process these legal documents.
- Test Run Facilitator:
Japan Federation of Administrative Solicitors Associations
- Supporting Organizations:
Utsunomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe City, and three other autonomous communities
- Users
Fifty administrative solicitors
- Test Run Duration:
October 13, 1997 to February 28, 1998

(3) Sales Through Outdoor Terminals Without a Store
- Test Run Description:
This tests a new distribution system that supplements retailing and home delivery. The system employs multimedia kiosks installed in different parts of town for cash and credit card on-line shopping. The system creates a new electronic network market that completely protects consumers via the electronic authentication system.
- Test Run Facilitator:
Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.; Fourth Dimension Port Co., Ltd.; Japan General Research Institute Co., Ltd.; Publication News Co., Ltd.
- Terminal Locations
Domestic: Convenience stores, ATM areas in banks, and public spaces in company offices in the following areas - Chuo-ku, Koto-ku, Shinjuku-ku, Chiyoda-ku, and Minato-ku in Tokyo; Yokohama in Kanagawa; and Warabi in Saitama.
Overseas: Japanese company offices, Japanese clubs, etc. in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and the United States.
- Users
1200 individual user monitors 300 general consumers
- Test Run Duration:
September 15, 1997 to February 28, 1998

(4) Antiquarian Book Sales
- Test Run Description:
A home page "Book Town Kanda" was opened in October 1996 by the Kanda Antiquarian Book Association to trade antiquarian books through the Internet. With the electronic authentication system an environment is created where book catalogs are distributed quickly and fairly to domestic and overseas customers. Cataloged books are traded safely and accurately.
- Test Run Facilitator:
Kanda Antiquarian Book Association Social Research Institute Co., Ltd. Keiyosha Co., Ltd.
- Supporting Organizations:
Sixteen members of the Kanda Used Book Association
- Users
800 individual members
- Test Run Duration:
September 22, 1997 to February 28, 1998

(5) Managing Electronic Publications' Copyrights
- Test Run Description:
With the dissemination of digitized books and magazines through electronic networks, authors and publishers are pointing out the needs for protecting the publications' copyrights and for defining and reinforcing copyright management. By using the electronic authentication system, copyrights are protected while selling digitized publications through the Internet and other open electronic networks.
- Test Run Facilitator:
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. PICTO-ROM Publication Society Keiyosha Co., Ltd. Social Research Institute Co., Ltd.
- Supporting Organizations:
Ten to twelve publishers
- Users
Thirty author monitors, 800 individual monitors
- Test Run Duration:
October 6, 1997 to February 28, 1998

Nobuyuki Tanba
New Media Development Association
23F, Mita-Kokusai Bldg.
1-4-28 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 108 Japan
Voice: +81-3-3457-0671
Fax: +81-3-3451-9604

go to index
e-mail address