Japan Settles on E-Commerce Certificate Standard

TOKYO (04/17/2000) - A group of 15 major Japanese electronics companies and digital certification companies have agreed to adopt a common standard for verification of e-commerce transactions, the companies said Friday in a joint statement.

The adoption of a single format for digital signature and verification means companies using different e-commerce systems will be able to do business together confident that important details associated with each party have been verified as being correct.

The group brings together some of the largest names in the electronics and certification industries including NTT Communications Corp., NTT Data Corp., Entrust Japan Co. Ltd., Oki Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., CyberTrust Japan Inc., Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd., IBM Japan Corp., Japan Certification Services Inc., NEC Corp., VeriSign Japan K.K., Nihon Unisys Ltd., Fujitsu Ltd., Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

The system chosen by the group is one backed by the Ministry of Finance and based on the X.509 international standard for certificate authorization, Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) and Certificate Revocation List (CRL) standards. The same standards are increasingly being adopted around the world holding out the possibility of interaction of international e-commerce systems.

The announcement came on the same day as three Japanese government ministries submitted a bill to parliament seeking to define a legal framework for e-commerce.

The lack of any specific legal recognition for e-commerce and electronic signatures is seen as a potential stumbling block towards the widespread adoption of digital systems. The bill is intended to address that and prevent Japanese companies falling behind in the e-commerce field. [See "E-Signature Bill Submitted to Japan Parliament," Apr. 14.]

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