TOKYO - The Japanese government plans to promote a platform to member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for digitalizing all trade-related documents, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.
Japan expects the platform to strengthen the supply chain in the region where many Japanese companies have production bases while deepening economic ties with the 10-member bloc, they said.
The digitalization platform, currently being developed by a consortium of 18 Japanese companies, utilizes a blockchain technology to prevent data hacking, the sources said.
The consortium, whose participants include NTT Data Corp., Mitsubishi Corp. and Nippon Express Co., will run a trial of the platform this year in Vietnam, the chair of ASEAN for 2020, the sources said.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
By eliminating massive exchanges of paper between trade stakeholders, the platform is expected to sharply reduce the costs and time required for customs documentation work. It can also digitalize procedures for credit letter issuance by banks and trade insurance contracts.
As the system accumulates data, it can help search for alternative suppliers based on past trade and credit histories in the event of supply chain disruptions, the sources said.
The platform's development comes as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is providing funding for creation of new businesses through digitalization projects in Asian countries.