Japanese firms team up to put trade management on blockchain

A group of Japanese companies are investing in a new trade data management system powered by blockchain, with the potential to introduce significant efficiency savings for companies in importing and exporting goods.

Seven companies are reportedly preparing to invest in the new platform, which relies on blockchain technology to secure recorded data against risks from external tampering and unauthorized access, according to Nikkei.

Built to handle receipts and letters of credit, the platform is specifically designed for the needs of firms importing and exporting from Japan. The platform is also equipped to deal with documents handled by logistics and insurance companies, aiming to make data handling more efficient as well as more secure.

The seven companies participating in the program feature some of Japan’s biggest corporates, including superbank MUFG Bank, Toyota Tsusho, Kanematsu, Sompo Japan Insurance and Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance.

The blockchain service is expected to be up and running by the end of the fiscal year, and has already been put through its paces by the likes of Mitsubishi. In initial trials, the system has reportedly improved data processing times by as much as 50%.

Trade data management systems are an increasingly popular application of blockchain technology, which is already proving valuable in managing complex logistics and supply chains. With the benefit of smart contracts and secure, verifiably true data, distributed ledger technology is already demonstrating its capacity to streamline business processes while providing greater security for commercially sensitive data.

The platform has been developed by NTT Data, in partnership with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, a division of the Japanese Ministry of Economy.

Trials of the technology continue, ahead of a planned roll-out ahead of the new financial year in April 2021.

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