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November 30,2005
ECOM News No.8

Special Report: Collaboration between businesses and universities in the United States
    with the aim of promoting electronic commerce

Report on the Progress of "RFID Tags/Traceability Promotion WG"
Outline of Lectures at the "Fourth ECOM Seminar 2005"
Announcement of the "Seventh ECOM Seminar 2005"
Reports on Research of the German e-Government and "e-2005"
Report on "e-Biz Expo 2005"
Report on the 47th ISO/TC184/SC4 International Conference
"NIKKEI MONOZUKURI (Manufacturing) Business Seminar: the Latest PDQ (Product
    Data Quality) Situation and Advanced Cases"

 Special Report:
“Collaboration between businesses and universities in the United States with the aim of promoting electronic commerce”

    Below is a report by Ms. Chiyo Kobayashi, Chairman of Washington/CORE LLC, who lives in the United States, on the current status of dynamic collaboration in that country between businesses and universities in the development of electronic commerce (EC).

    What is a great favorite of children in the United States? If you say “macaroni and cheese” right away, I suppose that you know quite a lot about the United States. A RFID research room, in which many products including “macaroni and cheese”, “mac-n-cheese” for brevity, are used as experiment subjects, was opened in the University of Wisconsin this August. The members of the research room are making efforts to solve the following problems: how tags should be blown on “mac-n-cheese” on belt conveyors, how fast they should be moved, from which angle wireless signals should be sent to read information, and how the products should be transported into warehouses in the most efficient manner. They are trying to examine RFID technologies based on actual scenarios by re-creating warehouse environments of manufacturing companies and handling actual products.

Dynamic collaboration between businesses and universities

    The research room is sponsored by fifty-odd private companies including Kraft Foods Inc., a major food company and manufacturer of “mac-n-cheese”, 3M, a major company in industrial products, and Land’s End, Inc., a major casual clothing company based on catalog sales. The “RFID Industry Working Group” that belongs to the “e-Business Consortium Research Institute”, which is a key project of the University of Wisconsin, is mainly operating the research room. It constitutes of some laboratories: an echo-free studio, portable warehouses and docks that enable loading and unloading, and other similar facilities. All kinds of experiments on the practical application of RFID technologies are conducted from the perspective of physics and engineering. For example, research studies are conducted on the following technological problems to produce useful results for actual application: amplitude of antenna signals and angles of antennas to read information, flow and speed of products on belt conveyors and attachment of tags, in particular, embedding of tags into products from the beginning instead of adding tags to packaged products. On these occasions, the laboratories play roles of incubators of RFID technologies by testing technologies of venture companies, such as tag “blow-on” attachment technology of Zebra Technologies Corporation and light sensor reader technologies of Alien Technology Corporation and Symbol Technologies, Inc.

Establishment of win-win relations

     In the United States, as is represented by the RFID laboratories of the University of Wisconsin, there are all forms of collaborative activities between businesses and universities with a keyword of EC promotion. Especially, in some cases, research and development activities in universities are not only developing completely new technologies but also giving momenta to conventional technologies and creating new markets. In fact, RFID technologies, which already existed when World War II broke out, have sparked the creation of the current RFID-boom due to experiments in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which were sponsored by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Gillette for four years from 1999 to 2003. Research and development activities on EC are still being developed in many universities. For example, in the University of Denver, XML/EDI initiatives and maturity models on system development are being developed and technical standards are being established. EC technological development programs of many universities are backed up not only by IT major companies, such as IBM, Cisco Systems, Inc., AT&T Inc., Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation and Oracle Corporation, but also by major user companies, such as Kodak, GlaxoSmithKline (a major pharmaceutical company), Coors Brewing Company, and General Motors Corporation (GM). The advantages are as follows: vendor companies can limit high-risk investments by sharing R&D investments in cutting-edge technologies with other companies, user companies can make use of research results of universities, and universities can conduct most-advanced research activities whose results companies intend to introduce into the market. Thus, win-win relations are established.

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 Creation of legal and ethical infrastructures

    Universities play important roles in developing not only technological but also legal infrastructures. For example, the Law School of Stanford University has some research institutes such as the “Center for e-Commerce” and the “Center for Internet and Society”, with lecturers and advisers from major law firms and venture capital companies. It also provides opportunities for not only conducting surveys and research studies on the desk but also coping with legal issues of extremely high practical workability on the Internet by establishing the “Cyber Law Clinic” through which students can become involved in actual lawsuits in relation to problems on the Internet. For the purpose of developing EC, it is more indispensable to organize legal and ethical rules, covering areas from on-line illicit trading to protection of personal information and copyrights, than to improve technologies. Law schools of universities are contributing to the creation of legal and ethical infrastructures for the promotion of EC by making efforts to absorb problem consciousness from the private sector, study social problems and establish rules. In the United States, unlike in Japan where institutional designs are worked out at the initiative of the government, universities and nonprofit organizations are taking the initiative in creating systems for the diffusion of new technologies in close cooperation with the private sector.

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Management approaches and business models

    We should not miss MBA courses (business schools) of universities in the United States, in which EC is studied from the perspective of business. Courses and programs that are specialized in EC are included in most influential MBA courses in the United States. With the aim of becoming leading educational institutes for business persons who play central roles in the next-generation information economy, business schools are fiercely competing with one another in the contents of programs, recruitment of professors and high-quality students. For example, the business school of the University of Maryland has been recently distinguishing itself in the United States. With a slogan of “Leaders for the Digital Economy”, the university is conducting research studies on business models and management approaches of service industries, and electronic governments to establish a “center of excellence” (specialized area) in the service sector. As part of the activities, the university focuses on research on e-business: to be blunt, “how companies produce profits by means of EC.” Efforts of the University of Maryland with a focus not on the manufacturing industry but on the service sector, as a pioneer in a new research area called “service science”, are gathering attention from all over the United States. The university is backed up by IBM, industry organizations in relation to electronic governments and the Internet, American Marketing Association, and other similar groups.

Business school of the University of Maryland

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  Utilization of MIT brains

    Universities in the United States have a long history in “research studies sponsored” by companies, and EC is chosen with increasing frequency as a theme of the sponsored research studies. MIT, with all big-name professors in EC, comes up to my brain first as a popular university among companies. The “Center for e-Business” of MIT has the greatest brains in individual areas under themes such as digital marketing strategies, digital productivity, global financial services and security, and provides consulting services to powerful companies. For example, MasterCard is outsourcing a survey on on-line payments to a team led by Professor Cusumano of the university, who is an authority in IT strategies. Cisco Systems, Inc. is supporting a study on business process evaluation by Professor Brynjolfsson, who is famous for research on IT investment effects. GM, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is a major consulting company, and United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS) are also outsourcing research studies to teams led by professors of MIT, on “Dream CRM”, “Information Transparency and Value Report”, and the “Structure of Logistics Systems”, respectively. The industrial world enjoys significant advantages owing to collaborative activities with universities, by making use of external brains in universities and other similar organizations through discussions to find out problems and issues that can not be internally seen as well as solutions.

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Management and engineering


Also in Japan, an interdisciplinary area that combines engineering and business administration, which is called “MOT=management of technology”, has been gathering attention for a long time. EC is highlighted as a research area in which business administration and engineering are combined. For example, a wide range of subjects from technologies to EC strategies are treated in the “e-Commerce Program” in North Carolina State University, which is a joint program by its engineering department and business school. The university has established a research institute called the “e-Commerce Studio” to conduct research studies on web services and security technologies. Also other universities, such as Vanderbilt University that is specialized in the retail industry and North Carolina AT&T State University that focuses on entrepreneurship, are actively developing interdisciplinary research studies on EC across barriers of conventional disciplines. They aim to produce not only human resources who can “understand both technologies and businesses” but also innovative and fresh ideas and business models by mixing arts and sciences.

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Collaboration between “universities” and “private companies” that gives dreams to
    younger generations


    I think that the greatest effect of collaboration between universities and private companies is the development of human resources. Many EC programs of universities in the United States have roles of fostering next-generation leaders who will supposedly develop their careers by being engaged in EC in some way. The U.S. universities provide interesting and attractive curriculums for students and foster their dreams: the students are enthusiastic about “establishing venture companies some day and being immensely successful as entrepreneurs”; they cope with business problems that top-class companies have to face and consider “how to solve problems and improve business performance” as if they were business executives; they aim to “establish de facto standards for themselves” by making use of tools and solutions of companies with cutting-edge technologies. It can be said that the dream-making collaboration between “universities” and “private companies” has been making a great impact on the scouting and development of innovation creators in the United States.

Introduction of the writer:

Chiyo Kobayashi, Chairman of Washington/CORE LLC
   After graduating from the Department of International and Cultural Studies, Tsuda College, she took a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Virginia, U.S.A.
   In 1995, she established “Washington/CORE LLC”, a business policy consulting firm based in Washington D.C. and became chairman. She is developing a wide range of writing and lecture activities

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Report on the Progress of “RFID Tags/Traceability Promotion WG”

    Starting from this issue, we will make a series of reports as needed on the progress of activities carried out by the “Special Committee on RFID Tags/Traceability.” This time, Mr. Masaaki Higashino, Research Director of ECOM, gives an overall picture of efforts by ECOM in FY 2005 regarding RFID tags and traceability, and makes a report on the progress of activities carried out by the “RFID Tags/Traceability Promotion WG.”

 I. Overall picture of efforts by ECOM in FY 2005 regarding RFID tags and traceability

    ECOM has set four objectives regarding RFID tags/traceability: 1) promotion of cross-industrial utilization of RFID tags 2) securement of interconnectivity and interoperability between industries 3) diffusion of RFID tag technology 4) compliance with international standards (ISO/IEC) and proposals to international standard organizations. With the objectives, working groups are engaged in survey research projects in concert with each other, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: RFID Tags/Traceability-related WGs

    Specifically, we are examining RFID tag utilization models, data elements on the tags, privacy protection measures when the tags are distributed to consumers, and new types of business with the technology. They materialize the optimization of managing a product life cycle starting from production and continuing through transportation, sales, and consumers.

Figure 2: Main Activities of ECOM in FY 2005


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II. RFID Tags/Traceability Promotion WG

     RFID Tags/Traceability Promotion WG has started its activities for FY 2005. The first WG was held on August 25, with 59 members in total, including the chair, Shoichiro Asano, Professor of the National Institute of Informatics, eleven intellectuals and 47 ECOM members.

1. Objectives of RFID Tags/Traceability Promotion WG
   RFID Tags/Traceability Promotion WG conducts mainly the following two survey research studies:

1) Extraction of problems and examination of solutions regarding RFID tags utilization in product life cycle management
    We establish RFID tags utilization models which materialize the optimization of product life cycle management, starting from production and continuing through transportation, sales and consumers, and identify data elements which are necessary for the models. Improvement plans for business processes of each company are examined in terms of cross-industry, with the full understanding of necessary information for their business in product life cycles.

2) Transmitting know-how of the field pilot tests to other industries and examination of various issues with the utilization of RFID tags
     After a cross-sectional analysis of the results of seven field pilot tests by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in FY 2004, we transmit the know-how which has been defined to other industries, and examine solutions for cross-industrial issues.

2. Progress Situation

     Regarding the above 1. 1), two industries (electronic industry and office appliance industry) were selected, and the following research studies are being conducted in manufacturing, sales, maintenance and recycling companies: (1) extraction of common business processes, which share the same information between different companies (2) research on the situation of information systems and data elements, which are being used for the business processes (3) research on utilization of automatic recognition (4) surveys on systems and restrictions for information disclosure.

    A task force (TF) will be established in December, 2005, in order to examine the applicability of RFID tags, utilization models for business processes between companies, and new value-added services.

     Regarding the above 1. 2), TF, consisting of volunteers, is conducting a cross-industrial analysis of seven field pilot tests in FY 2004. Specifically, they analyze (1) why there was a need to consider the introduction of RFID tags (2) what the RFID tag system is like (3) considerations which were made for back-ups of the RFID tag system (4) quantitative and qualitative effects of RFID tags as results of the field pilot tests (5) cross-industrial issues with introduction and operation of RFID tags, etc. Those reports are scheduled to be completed in the middle of December and reviewed in a WG, which is to be held at the end of the month.

3. Future Development

     Though surveys, including the analyses, are currently the main activities, in the future, based on the results of surveys, we would like to go into a next stage to discuss solutions of common issues, value-added business, etc., with “wisdom.” With the full cooperation of WG members, we will make further efforts to make reports which are useful for ECOM members.

*This project was jointly implemented by the JIPDEC / Electronic Commerce Promotion Center and the Next Generation Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan, as one of the projects commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

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Outline of Lectures at the “Fourth ECOM Seminar 2005”
- The Latest Trend in the Protection of Personal Information in the Public and Private Sectors-

    On November 7 (Monday), 2005, a monthly ECOM seminar was held under the above-mentioned theme at the Kikai Shinko Kaikan Building (Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo). On the day, more than 100 visitors including members and the general audience attended the seminar.
   In this seminar, with the aim of “reexamining the protection system of personal information” seven months after the Act on the Protection of Personal Information was enforced, three lecturers gave presentations on the current status after the act was enforced and trend in measures and policies, efforts by the private sector, and false steps of companies.

     Lecture materials are released on the website for ECOM members.

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 Lecture 1: “The Current Status and Trend in Measures and Policies after the Enforcement of the Act on the Protection of Personal Information”

 Mr. Yuichi Saito
Deputy Director, Information Economy Division
Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Enactment and enforcement of the Act on the Protection of Personal Information

    What is behind the enactment of the Act on the Protection of Personal Information is that concerns about personal information have grown among people because the developed IT society has enabled anyone to easily copy and carry a large quantity of personal information and because large-scale information leaks occurred one after another. However, this act does not aim to reduce the usage of personal information as much as possible for the purpose of protecting personal information; it rather aims to take a balance between protection and utilization of personal information by establishing certain rules and making use of personal information in accordance with the rules, from the viewpoint that it is indispensable to effectively make use of personal information in the IT society.

    As for leaks of personal information after the act was enforced, we have received approximately 500 reports from April to September. In one-fourth of the cases, personal information of one person was leaked. Losses and thefts of personal computers and memories and unauthorized accesses were main reasons for serious cases in which personal information of more people was leaked. As for the overall trend in reasons for leak accidents, careless mistakes by employees and other similar persons including losses and thefts of documents accounted for a large percentage; internal rules were not known to all employees although the rules were prepared before the act was enforced. Employees took out documents although they did not have to or they did not pay attention to the handling of personal information without recognizing its importance. I think that such behaviors caused information leaks in many cases, and that it is important to reform employee consciousness and spread laws and internal rules. It is also important to promptly cope with accidents if they should occur. In some cases in the past, companies ran in panic on information leaks and took only follow-up measures. Recently, a company was about to be sued because it took ten days just to organize and publicly announce facts and customers’ distrust increased during that time. It is important to promptly release all facts and make apologies.

    Willful information leaks by employees often lead to serious situations. However, in some cases, it is impossible to punish such employees due to inconsistency among laws. Therefore, we are examining the establishment of penalties to cope with information leaks by employees by revising the Personal Information Protection Act.

Guideline for the protection of personal information in the area of economy, trade and industry

    One of the characteristics of the guideline for the protection of personal information in the area of economy, trade and industry is that, in showing legal interpretations, many legal and illegal cases are remunerated. As supplements to the guideline, questions and answers in relation to the “Guideline for the Act on Personal Information Protection in the Area of Economy, Trade and Industry” and other similar documents are released on the website of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Approximately eighty questions and answers are now listed, but if possible, we would like to increase the number to 150 or so within this year, including ones under review.

    We will examine to revise the guideline in accordance with trend in the above-mentioned revision of the act under consideration.

Personal information protection JIS, the privacy mark system and certified organizations for the protection of personal information

    A guideline for the personal information protection was established by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (at that time) in 1989. The guideline was revised in 1997, and was made as JIS (JIS Q 15001) in 1999. In 1998, the privacy mark system was also established and the personal information protection JIS is used as a certification standard in the system. The personal information protection JIS will be revised in early FY 2006 to secure consistency with other management system standards as well as the concepts and terms of the Act on the Protection of Personal Information.

    Certified privacy-mark companies have been increasing year after year, but applicants have been increasing at a higher rate. Therefore, it takes a long time to finish examinations. To cope with this problem, we are making efforts to promptly process applications not only by strengthening the examination system of JIPDEC as a mark-granting organization but also by further increasing the number of designated examining authorities.

    Last of all, I would like to talk about certified organizations for the protection of personal information. They are private organizations that are engaged in providing information to and handling complaints of individual companies in relation to the protection of personal information, for the purpose of promoting voluntary efforts by individual companies to protect personal information, and they are certified by the minister in charge. At present, six groups under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry are certified as organizations for the protection of personal information. We are also examining some groups, and we would like to increase the number of certified organizations in the future.

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Lecture 2: “Efforts by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., to Protect Personal Information”

 Mr. Jiro Higashiyama
Senior Coordinator, Corporate Information Security Division
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.

Concept of the protection of personal information and keywords for promotion

    From the viewpoint that “personal information is precious assets from customers”, Matsushita Group has been promoting the protection of personal information to provide safety and security to customers and to acquire and increase their trust. For these purposes, we are developing various kinds of activities from the following four perspectives: compliance (Act on the Protection of Personal Information), CS (customer satisfaction), information security (safety management), and risk management (handling of accidents). In particular, from the viewpoint of CS, we recognize the necessity of actively using personal information to meet customers’ needs and the importance of protecting personal information for this purpose. In other words, we should not have personal information that we do not use. As for risk management, in case of accidents, we make apologies and explanations to customers, release facts on our website, etc., and report to supervisory authorities, by placing the highest priority on the protection of customers, regardless of the number of persons who are involved in accidents.

    We have three keywords for promoting the protection of personal information: “establishment of specific and easy-to-understand rules for everyone”, “increase in exposure (security reinforcement month, display of posters, etc.) and development of personal information protection as an across-the-board activity” and “strong top-down promotion and stimuli to inter-division competition”. On actual sites where activities are being developed to protect personal information, it is important to establish specific and easy-to-understand rules and systems so that there may be no differences in responses, regardless of persons in charge. It is also necessary to promote the protection of personal information not as a partial activity but as an across-the-board activity, because it is an effort to increase corporate value. With regard to security activity in particular, it is necessary to reform in-company consciousness and it is important to promote the activity based on strong top-down instructions from the president and the head office.

Efforts for the protection of information security and personal information

    Matsushita Group is promoting the protection of personal information as part of its efforts for information security. We started to work for information security in 1999, and for the protection of personal information in 2001, and we newly established Corporate Information Security Division in January, 2004. With a slogan of “being the severest company in information security in the world”, we are developing activities such as clarification of information assets, implementation of PDCA cycle, and handling of accidents.
As for efforts in FY 2004 to protect personal information, we conducted a company-wide survey in June on the current internal status. In October, we established management rules based on the guideline by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, started a registration system and conducted an internal audit. Thus, we made efforts to respond to the fully enforced Act on the Protection of Personal Information. In FY 2005, for the purpose of more thoroughly conforming to laws and acquiring customers’ trust, the overall group is making efforts to obtain a privacy mark and to establish global rules.

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 Lecture 3: “False Steps Many Companies make and Solutions to Them”

  Mr. Yasushi Suzuki, President, CP Design Consulting Co., Ltd.

False steps and solutions

    Personal information is classified into two types: self-obtained information and information obtained through other companies. People have rights to ask for the scope of use, accuracy and safety, and future responses (responses including disclosures and handling of complaints). Those rights are protected by “personal information handling contracts”, which has the same legal force as other contracts. With regard to “constraints to purposes” in the scope of use, it is important to clearly specify purposes of use and “assure security in applications”. As for “constraints to companies”, only third parties with first-person informed consents, co-users and outsourcees can handle personal information. It is necessary to obtain first-person informed consents in advance in case of providing information to third parties, to notify related parties of co-use and names of supervisors in case of co-use, and to supervise outsourcees in case of outsourcing, respectively. As for the “securing of safety”, it is important to clarify risks based on a flow chart from access to information to utilization of it. As for “future responses to first-person requirements”, it is necessary to decide, according to disclosure requirement items, if simple identity verification is acceptable or if more accurate written identity verification is required. For companies handling personal information, it is important to confirm “when, where, who, what, why and how” and the way of “acquisition and inputting, transfer and transmission, utilization and processing, storage and backup, and elimination and destruction.”

    Why do many companies make false steps here? The reason is lack of imagination and belongingness. In addition, what are common to companies from which personal information is easily leaked are as follows: networks are much slower than before; employees can not be distinguished from outsiders; it is difficult to grasp employees’ activities because office spaces are divided with partitions; and personal computers are not managed because one or more PCs are allocated to individual employees.

Concept on public announcements and reports in case of leaks of personal information (proposal)

    “Responsibilities for reporting” of accidents in relation to personal information are not clearly treated in the Act on the Protection of Personal Information, but treated in the guideline in the area of economy, trade and industry, and required from supervisory authorities. From the perspective of increasing corporate transparency, obtaining understanding and trust from customers, and eliminating doubts about information hiding, it would be desirable to publicly announce information leaks in any case. However, in internally establishing public announcement standards, it is necessary to take the feeling of unfairness (“why do only we have to publicly announce information leaks?”) into consideration. Purposes of “public announcements” and “reports” are as follows: prevention of secondary damages (expansion of damages), avoidance of occurrences of similar cases, apologies and securing of management transparency. In establishing standards for “public announcements” and “reports”, some companies will consider the necessity of establishing standards based on the number of accidents and the contents of personal information. It is also important to review established standards for public announcements and reports in consideration of social conditions, etc.

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Announcement of the “Seventh ECOM Seminar 2005”
Efforts to Cope with Implementation of e-Document Law – Report on the Result of Interoperability Test Based on Long-Term Storage Formats –


Date: 13:30~16:40 December 16 (Friday), 2005
Place: Meeting rooms 6D-1, 2 and 3, 6F, Kikai Shinko Kaikan Bldg. (3-5-8, Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo)


Lecture 1: Measures in Response to e-Documents Law and Long-Term Storage of Electronic Documents
Long-Term Storage Formats of Electronic Signature Documents
ECOM’s Interoperability Pilot Test Based on Long-Term Signature Formats

For details, please refer to the website of ECOM (

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Reports on Research of the German e-Government and “e-2005”

    From October 13 (Thursday) to 17 (Monday), 2005, Mr. Yoji Maeda, Research Director of ECOM (Security WG) and Mr. Kazuo Maeda, Research Director of ECOM (e-Government & Business Collaboration WG) visited Germany to research the current situation of IT. Following the visit, Mr. Maeda attended the “e-2005” which was held in Republic of Slovenia on October 19 (Wednesday) - 21 (Friday).

    Mr. Yoji Maeda makes a report on the research.

1.Research on the German e-Government

    In 2000, the German government announced “BundOnline 2005,” an e-government program of the federal government, and has been planning to offer 385 main services online to citizens, companies and administrative bodies. In addition, “DeutschlandOnline” was announced in 2003, with an aim to materialize the e-Government networking all strata of the government (the federal government, sixteen federal states, more than 300 local districts and more than 13,000 local governments).

    This time, we visited the eGov Center at Fraunhofer Institute, which takes a part in promoting the German e-Government, in Berlin, to conduct a hearing of the progress of the “BundOnline 2005.” We also visited the provincial government of Bayern in Munich, to conduct another hearing of the progress of e-Government in Bayern and the situation of utilization of public key infrastructures (PKI).

1.1 eGov Center at Fraunhofer Institute in Berlin

     Mr. Schmid and other people, who are engaged in the “BundOnline 2005,” explained mainly the progress of the project. “BundOnline 2005” is running smoothly. New required services have been added to the 385 services, and they are now offering approximately 500 services.

After the meeting, with Mr. Schmid (center)

    However, the number of people who actually use the e-Government services is still small, so that they are now putting most of their efforts into spreading the services by placing flyers on trains, making goods, etc.

    This project has been carried forward with the funds, which are collected at a fixed rate from the ICT budgets of each state by the federal government. Plans for post-“BundOnline 2005” are not yet determined.

1.2 The Bavarian Government in Munich

    Mr. Meyer is in charge of the one of the projects of the Bavarian e-Government to reduce the number of officials. Bayern is the only state in Germany which maintains a budget surplus. However, they still need to work on reducing the number of officials, considering tight state finances in the next thirty years.

    Services of the e-Government for citizens are low in their use: citizens traditionally don’t visit governments often. A survey shows that the average number of times for citizens to visit governments is 1.25 times per year (except for paying taxes, the number of visits is only once in ten years for moving, purchase of a house, etc.), which is very low.
The tax return system starts from January 1, 2006, in four states, including Bayern. In a company’s case, tax accountants can file online.

After the meeting, with Mr. Meyer (left)

    PKI has mainly been used for signatures on e-mails, but seldom for electronic documents. Currently, around 3,000 officials in the Bavarian government use the signatures on e-mails, and they are trying to expand this number to 10,000, which is equivalent to 90% of the officials in the Bavarian government.

    The utilization of PKI is mainly in the Bavarian government, and there are no plans to expand the use to G2B (Government to Business) or G2C (Government to Consumer). There is no high expectation over the utilization of electronic certifications by general citizens, since it costs thirty euros per year.


     The progress of e-Government in Germany is far ahead of Japan, in terms of developments of laws, promotion frameworks, technologies, etc. However, when it comes to the stage of expanding utilization of the services, they are facing a lot of problems:

  • The federal government can’t proceed with the project as their own intention, because the degree of independence of provincial and municipal governments is very high.
  • When new systems and frameworks are introduced, legal amendments are also necessary in many cases.
  • While promoting e-Governments, organizations or people who are involved with the process don’t want to give up their vested rights.
  • Its cost-benefit performance is not yet clear.
 2 Report on “e-2005”

2.1 Outline of the Conference

    “eChallenges e-2005” is one of the representative international conferences in Europe, hosted by the European Commission, etc. Its fifteenth conference was held for three days on October 19 - 21, in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Over 500 participants came and 270 presentations are made by presenters from 38 countries. The conference was divided into eight parallel sessions with themes, such as e-Business, e-Government, Knowledge Management, e-Work, Digital Content and ICT Challenges. Mr. Noriyuki Yonemura, Counselor of Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd., from Japan made a keynote speech.
The next “eChallenge e-2006” will be held in Barcelona, Spain, in autumn, 2006.

2.2 Contents of the Conference

    Presentations of projects, including ones the EU conducts, were given in a panel discussion style. Many of them were interesting, such as the one multilaterally comparing the U.S.A. with the EU as the united states. One of the presentations which attracted people most was “The List of Service Numbers for Citizens in Europe” by Mr. P. Hendriks. He suggested making a new theme of projects: how the service numbers for citizens should be treated in EU.

“e-2005” Opening Session


    “e-2005” is not a place to present academic papers, but a place to introduce case examples and to give opportunities to meet regularly with people who have common issues. The necessity of these opportunities is not as high as the EU, which is trying to make the member countries’ borders vague, but I felt that Asian countries also need the same kind of opportunity.

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Report on “e-Biz Expo 2005”

     On November 10 (Thursday) – 12 (Saturday), 2005, “e-Biz Expo 2005,” the biggest RFID-related exhibition/conference in Korea, was held in Seoul, Korea. Mr. Eiji Hamanaka, Secretary-General, Mr. Koichi Kataoka, Deputy Secretary-General, and five research directors from ECOM attended the expo to interact and exchange information with people who are involved with EC/RFID. They also visited concerned companies in Korea. The following are the reports from the research directors:

Holding of “e-Biz Expo 2005 Conference”
Mr. Nagaaki Ohyama,
Professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology, gave a keynote speech

     “e-Biz Expo 2005 Conference” was held on November 10, 2005. It is hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy in Korea, and run by Korea CALS/EC Association (KCALS). ECOM took part in this conference by dispatching a lecturer from Japan, etc. After an opening speech by Mr. Dong-Hoon Kim, Vice Chairman of KCALS, Mr. Eiji Hamanaka, Secretary-General of ECOM, delivered a congratulatory address, and the conference was started. In the morning session, Mr. Nagaaki Ohyama, Professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology, gave a keynote speech on “eID Initiatives in the Next e-Japan Strategy and its Ripple Effect in Business Areas,” and he explained the initiatives and ripple effects to businesses in various areas, such as e-Governments, healthcare, medical care, welfare, etc., in the framework of the next “e-Japan Strategies.”

A Lecture

    In the afternoon session, participants were divided into three tracks: 2006 e-Business Outlook (Track 1), Japan-China-Korea e-Business (Track2), u-Business (RFID/Traceability) (Track 3) and lectures were made at each track. From Japan, at Track 2, Mr. Kazuhiro Kawashima, Research Director of ECOM, explained “Information Economy Outlook 2005” and Mr. Minoru Takahashi, e-Biz Sub Committee Leader, EC Center, Japan Electronics & Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), gave a lecture on “The Current Situation of e-Business in Japanese Electronic Hardware Industry and Japan-Korea Joint Projects.” And also, at Track 3, Mr. Akira Sakamoto, General Manager, RFID Business Division, Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., explained “The Current Situation and Case Examples of IC Tags in Japan,” and Masatomo Takemoto, Research Director of ECOM, introduced the latest trend of RFID tags in Japan with the title of “Introduction of Field Pilot Test by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and its Future Plan.” Lectures were not only from Korea, but also from the United States and China.

(Mr. Kojun Matsumoto, Research Director, International Relations Group)

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ECOM’s Booth at “e-Biz Expo 2005”

    At the venue (COEX) of “e-Biz Expo 2005,” there were around fifty displays of activities regarding EDI, BtoB, RFID, etc., by companies, associations, and universities, including Korean Air, Woori Bank and Hyundai Information Technology Co., Ltd. E-Learning EXPO was held energetically in parallel.

    At ECOM’s booth, panels were set to introduce the founding objectives, organization, activities and a full list of ECOM members. In addition, with movies on a plasma display TV, we introduced our members, activities, and collaborative activities, mainly between Japan, China and Korea. Hundreds of people visited the ECOM’s booth in the three days, and showed their interests toward electronic commerce in Japan.

    A questionnaire survey was conducted at our booth and the venue. We researched the awareness of Korean visitors toward electronic commerce. In the three days, 122 responses were collected. We received comments, such as “It takes time for products to be delivered,” “Lack of personal information protection,” etc. We found a need to compare electronic commerce environments in Japan and Korea.

(Mr. Kazuhiro Kawashima, Research Director, Public Relations Group)

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Company Visits

    During the “e-Biz Expo 2005,” under the cooperation of KCALS, we gained an opportunity, as a joint project of ECOM and KCALS, to visit RFID-related companies in Korea and observe the progress of RFID field pilot tests.

    One of the RFID-related companies we visited is InkTec Co., Ltd., which was established in 1992 as a venture company. In May, 2005, they developed and announced “Printable Electronic Ink” as an advanced electronic material. In July, 2005, their project was selected as a “Parts and Materials Technology Development Project” of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy in Korea. They are trying to bring the ink to markets of RFID antennas, etc. Their second plant is scheduled to be inaugurated in February, 2006. They are on the way to expanding their business further.

    We received explanations on two examples of field pilot tests. The first example was the pilot test, promoted mainly by National Veterinary Research Quarantine Service, which is being implemented for eight months from this May to the end of this year, 2005. The project uses RFID technologies to manage histories of imported beef and to trace information, including place of origin, locations, routes, quarantine, etc. It is recognized as one of the IT Technologies Model Projects. They will work on development of an information disclosure system to consumers through the Internet, etc.

    The second example was a joint pilot project of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy. The project uses RFID, whose implementation system test has been carried out, for history tracing and as the certification system of production, distribution and sales of craft products. Its purpose is to solve problems regarding replicas and countless unidentified knockoffs, by using item-classified serial numbers. The project is one of the representative and successful examples of inter-ministry collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy.

    The 900 MHz bandwidth was used in both pilot tests. An issue for the first test is that the cost of tags should be lowered for diffusion, and one for the second test is that tags are applicable only to the craft products of the price above a certain level. They are planning to bring up their systems at any occasion like international conferences to discuss various issues, including the certification problem, with the involving organizations in each country.

(Mr. Haruo Muto, Research Director, International Relations Group)

*This project was jointly implemented by the JIPDEC / Electronic Commerce Promotion Center and the Next Generation Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan, based on subsidies from the Japan Keirin Association.

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Report on the “47th ISO/TC184/SC4 International Conference”

    ISO/TC184/SC4 is engaged in developing standards for showing various kinds of data to be handled in the overall product life cycle, by means of standard data models based on computer calculation processing.
    Below is a report on participation in the international conference by Mr. Shin-ichi Yoshioka, Research Director of JIPDEC/Electronic Commerce Promotion Center (JIPDEC/ECPC). It is a report on STEP-related activities, which were implemented by ECOM until FY 2004 and is now being carried out in FY 2005 by JIPDEC/ECPC.

    From October 16 to October 21, 2005, the 47th ISO/TC184/SC4 international conference was held in Hangzhou, China, in which I participated as a member of the Japanese delegation. It was a considerably smaller conference with approximately sixty participants than the conference in Spain, which was held this June. Hangzhou, in which the conference was held, is located southwest to Shanghai as a center of economic development in China and is recording a remarkably high economic growth. It also vividly retains historical remnants of the capital of Southern Song. Following the SC4 conference, the plenary meeting of ISO/TC 184 started in Beijing from October 24. My impression is that, in Hangzhou, intensive promotion activities for multi-layered industrial development are being carried out, including the scheduled holding of an international tourism exhibition in 2006.
The outline of deliberations at the SC4 international conference is as follows.

    The PDQ-S (Product Data Quality-Shape) international standard development that Japan proposed was approved, and full-fledged deliberations started. This issue was very earnestly deliberated at a joint conference in which experts of WG3/T1 and WG12 participated, and a resolution was passed on the installation of Professor Hiroyuki Hiraoka, Chuo University, as a leader of the PDQ-S standard development project. It was also decided that a task force in charge of strategic planning on overall PDQ standardization would start full-fledged deliberations from the next conference.

    The SC4 chair presented the following: an approval to the international standardization of ISO13584-501 (Dictionaries for Measuring Instruments) that Japan proposed, and an approval by ISO/TMB (Technical Management Board), in accordance with a recommendation by SC4, to the establishment of RA (Registration Authorities) based on ISO13584-501 within JEMIMA (Japan Electric Measuring Instruments Manufacturers’ Association).

    Many of the international standard development projects, such as ISO10303-111 and ISO10303-240 in which Japanese experts have been deeply involved, are about to be completed. On the other hand, the United States, European countries and Korea are still positively making standardization proposals one after another. At this conference, much time was spent in particular for deliberating and adjusting ISO8000 (Catalogue Management System: Requirements) and ISO22745 (Open Technical Dictionary) that the United States proposed. As a result, a resolution was passed on continued ISO22745 deliberations by WG12. We need to keep a close watch on these standards in the future because they have a delicate impact on the industrial world.

    An intensive discussion was made on ISO13584-511 (Reference Dictionary for Fasteners), a standard for which China has been serving as a standardization project leader for the first time, and a work schedule was presented toward the issue of an international standard next year. Likewise, a technical examination was completed on ISO10303-112, a standard for which Korea has been serving as a standardization project leader for the first time, and an agreement was made on an international voting as DIS (Draft International Standard).

    In addition, a proposal was made on activities based on e-learning, mainly by the Education and Outreach Committee, which was established to make a breakthrough against the insufficient diffusion of standards that have been developed by SC4 in the industrial world compared with expected results at the beginning, and it was decided that the activities would start in line with the next conference in Italy.

     The latest progress of SCADEC, which is a project for promoting standardization of CAD data exchange in the area of construction in Japan, especially in public works that have been mainly advanced by the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport of Japan, was reported at a SC4 construction meeting (WG3/T22) because standards that have been developed by SC4 are used for the project.

    SC4 is engaged in developing product information model standards, each of which covers thousands of pages, and it is necessary to realize interoperability among product information model standards. For this purpose, SC4 is promoting the computerization (html) of standard documents and has started to modularize standards. The first version of modularized standards was issued in October. Deliberations are being made toward the establishment of a module standard development method and continued efforts are being made to increase efficiency in standard development and improve quality.

    A preliminary explanatory meeting was held mainly by Korea and Germany on the development of new information model standards in the area of construction, in which a presentation was made on the vision of the development of modularized standards.

*As one of the projects commissioned by Japanese Standards Association, this project was jointly implemented by the JIPDEC / Electronic Commerce Promotion Center and the Next Generation Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan, based on subsidies from the Japan Keirin Association

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“NIKKEI MONOZUKURI (Manufacturing) Business Seminar: the Latest PDQ (Product Data Quality) Situation and Advanced Cases”

    Below is a report by Mr. Shin-ichi Yoshioka, Research Director of JIPDEC/Electronic Commerce Promotion Center(JIPDEC/ECPC), on a seminar hosted by “NIKKEI MONOZUKURI ” in cooperation with JIPDEC/ECPC.

    On October 13, 2005, the “NIKKEI MONOZUKURI (Manufacturing) Business Seminar: the Latest PDQ Situation and Advanced Cases” was held at the Tokyo Conference Center Iidabashi in cooperation with JIPDEC/ECPC, in which 80-odd people participated.

     The presentations at the seminar were as follows: PDQ activities by JAMA/JAPIA PDQ Standardization WG that mainly consist of members from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA) and Japan Auto Parts Industries Association (JAPIA), the progress of the PDQ international standard development project by JIPDEC in ISO/TC184/SC4, efforts for PDQ by JAMA, JAPIA and related parties in the mold-making industry and case examples, and a panel discussion by related parties.

    Mr. Kazuharu Taga, Chair of the PDQ Standardization-Maintenance/ Development /Promotion-WG of JAMA/JAPIA, made a presentation on the current status of failures and the start of an examination based on the application of PDQ in three-dimensional design data by companies participating in JAMA.

    Professor Hiroyuki Hiraoka, Chuo University, who is a leader of the PDQ international standard development project at ISO/TC184/SC4, explained an application scenario of an international standard draft that is under review and its logical structure.

    Mr. Noriyuki Hiratsuka, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, presented the current status of the application of PDQ guideline by Japanese automobile manufacturing companies and a case in which, as a result of complete application of PDQ to operations, a company succeeded in reducing by 95% the occurrence of PDQ defects that would stop operations.

    Mr. Mitsuo Ogata, Stanley Electric Co., Ltd., introduced activity experiences to improve PDQ in auto parts manufacturers; based on his own experiences, he explained the difficulty of obtaining results without more efforts than only the introduction of tools, the necessity of developing educational activities and the importance of creating an easy-to-use system for persons in charge.

    Mr. Kiyoyuki Iwakabe, NDE Digi-tech, Inc., presented the results of a questionnaire survey on the recognition level of the PDQ guideline in the mold-making industry, which was conducted by JIPDEC/ECPC in FY 2004. He pointed out the high recognition level of problems with three-dimensional design data and the low recognition level of the JAMA/JAPIA PDQ guideline, and explained the necessity of further developing diffusion activities, limitations of the current PDQ activities and future problems.

    Last of all, a panel discussion was made by the above-mentioned lecturers as well as Mr. Akihiko Ohtaka, Nihon Unisys, Ltd., and Mr. Atsuto Soma, Elysium Co., Ltd. In the panel discussion, it was pointed out again that PDQ problems have become obvious because data of three-dimensional CAD, which is an application that has been developed and used for individual operations and products, are exchanged and reused. It was also indicated that it takes a considerable time for PDQ problems to become obvious after data origination processes. For this reason, it is difficult for application developers of three-dimensional CAD, etc., to identify true causes of the problems. In other words, for application developers, there are very few inducements to PDQ problem solving; what are important are expression of users’ concerns and implementation of immediate avoidance measures.

    For the purpose of reducing expenses accrued due to lack of data quality in the current manufacturing industry, it is necessary in the first place to develop diffusion activities for the wide recognition of problems. In general, in the manufacturing industry, one product is manufactured based on relationships among diversified companies. It is rare that a specified company independently covers all processes of “manufacturing” of products. In some cases, more than ten companies share design and manufacturing processes just to manufacture one part. Product information transferred among these companies is generally prepared by means of three-dimensional CAD, in order to realize performance evaluation simulations on computers.

    Requirements for data are being sophisticated to meet this sophisticated demand. For this reason, the quality of three-dimensional CAD data is important. Computers are tools for correctly processing input data. If there are problems with the quality of input data, problems with the results of processing will naturally occur.

    The manufacturing industry in the midst of global economic activities is exposed to global competitions while it has to accept product liabilities. Now that suppliers of equipment, materials and parts that are necessary for production as well as buyers of products are spread all over the world, it is necessary to understand and widely announce these problems. International standardization is a very efficient measure for this purpose, and we can expect it to accelerate problem solving. I would like you to face up to the reality that problems that were unknown in the past are being internationally recognized and to adequately respond to the problems in individual corporate activities.

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From the Secretary-General

    On November 30, the fourth planning committee in FY 2005 was held at Awazu Plant (Komatsu city, Ishikawa prefecture) of Komatsu Ltd. (ECOM board member). In addition to debriefing and question-and-answer sessions on the progress of ECOM activities in FY 2005, we made a tour of the plant, which is the field site of the RFID tags field pilot project for FY 2004 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

    Though it has been a while since we had the last plant tour for board members in March, 2003 (Motomachi Plant of TOYOTA Motor Corporation), participants were expressing their satisfaction by saying that they had a quite meaningful time. We deeply appreciate that people of Komatsu Ltd. (from headquarters and Awazu plant) gave us this great opportunity.

    The Next Generation Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan was established to carry out activities in a three year-period. We are now about to start to discuss descriptions of business in concrete form, for the second and the third year (FY 2006 and FY 2007). As we will discuss them in planning committees and working groups, which start from the end of this year, we always welcome ECOM members to bring up any opinions and requirements without any hesitation.


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ECOM News No. 8

Issue Date: November 30, 2005
Issuer: Next Generation Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan
Kikai Shinko Kaikan Bldg 3F  
3-5-8, Shibakoen, Minato-ku Tokyo 105-0011, Japan
Tel: +81-3-3436-7500, Fax: +81-3-3436-7570

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