Sojitz Corporation


Nissho Iwai to Form a Strategic Alliance with Fujitsu in Planning and Development of Electronic Contract Documentation Exchange/Storage Solution

Mar. 10, 2004

TOKYO(March 10, 2004)--Nissho Iwai Corporation, together with Fujitsu Limited, has implemented the planning and development of an electronic contract documentation exchange/storage solution. The companies will collectively facilitate the business, targeting general companies and those owning and operating Internet Data Centers.

1. Strategic alliance objectives

There is a tendency for further increases in the use of electronic documentation-based inter-company contracts, and methods are being sought to exchange electronic documents in a safe, easy and secure manner. The companies have developed a new electronic documentation exchange/storage solution, as a prompter for digitizing inter-company contracts, by linking Fujitsu's 'Secure Package' technology with the 'Electronic Seal System' planned and marketed by Nissho Iwai in collaboration with Shachihata and Wacom, for which Nissho Iwai has formed the Consortium for Electronic Seals. The spread and expansion of the solution will be aimed at by utilizing the sales channels of both companies.

2. About the electronic contract documentation exchange/storage solution

EDI is cited as a mechanism for inter-company electronic data exchange (contracts, order placement/receipt, deliveries, invoicing, etc.). However, the current status is that, since its introduction is accompanied by alterations in business flow and rules, EDI only serves to exchange information between group companies. Further, paper is used for most important documents to which seals are affixed.

The solution enables the electronic preparation of documents in paper form, such as contracts and order receipt/placement related forms that are exchanged between companies, as well as the safe and secure transmission of such documents via the Internet, and the storage and management of transmitted electronic documents as the original. Thus, paper documents will appear as they are in an electronic form on the computer screen, and the mechanism will involve no alterations to business flow and rules as is the case with documents in paper form. The major functions of the solution are as follows:

1)Electronically affixing seals on electronic documents, with the use of an electronic seal, not only allows a company or responsible person to clearly show their approval of the subject document, but also ensures the identity of correspondents in electronic documents.
2)The functionalities of the middleware (Product name: Secure Package) developed by Fujitsu enable the encryption of information to be transmitted (to prevent interception and falsification), secure transmission to the receiver, and the long-term storage of the documents exchanged while maintaining their originality.

3.Effects of introducing the solution

1)Electronic contracts require no revenue stamps, enabling cost reductions by the amounts equivalent to stamp duties.
2)Labor saving and efficiency improvements in contract management/storage
3)Enables the originality and visibility of documents to be secured, which are requirements for the storage of electronic account books

In terms of costs, in particular, significant cost reductions can be realized including the combination of direct costs such as for printing and materials, and indirect costs such as for enclosing and mailing documents, in addition to cost reductions for the amounts equivalent to stamp duties. Since important forms such as estimates, contracts and invoices, which are exchanged between companies, are normally in paper form, it is said that a cost of 500-600 yen per matter incurs as a result of the series of operations required for such things as affixing seals of approval, enclosures, addressing, mailing and filing copies. By performing such operations electronically, the solution jointly developed by the companies will enable costs to be kept down to about one sixth to one quarter of the costs currently being incurred.

4. Sales target

Sales of 20 billion yen are planned in three years time, targeting companies in finance, manufacturing and distribution, as well as medical institutions and administrative agencies.

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