By Xavier Kong
In a bid to encourage cross-border trade among its SMEs, the government-issued identification numbers of Japanese corporations are now valid internationally and accredited by the United Nations, as well as other international bodies, for use outside of Japan.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, this removes an expense that has been associated with cross-border e-commerce, as, until now, Japanese companies have been using non-government identification numbers for e-commerce.
The non-government numbers had been available for a fee from providers such as Tokyo Shoko Research in the case of international transactions, and have been tied to their own identification numbers, with counterparties checking the numbers against each other.
Managing and arranging for these private numbers, which expired after a certain time and required updating in databases after that, could potentially cost tens of millions of yen a year, which has been identified as a hassle and a hindrance for japanese SMEs that had wished to take part in international e-commerce.
Japanese companies can now use their government-issued identification numbers as is for cross-border e-commerce, just as they have in transactions with other domestic companies. They can now do so free of charge and without the administrative burden associated with the proprietary codes.
The Japan Auto Parts Industries Association reckons that with the ban lifted, SMEs may be more inclined to participate in international e-commerce. The increased e-commerce and other economic benefits of the government-issued identifiers could add up to more than 1 trillion yen in Japan alone, according to estimates by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, thinks that the simple fact of international recognition “could change the nature of Japanese e-commerce all at once.”