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                      | HITACHI HOME | UP | SEARCH | HITACHI

                      News Release

                      September 29, 1997

                      Inauguration of Electronic Certification Service Company Backed by 49 Companies, New Firm Starts Operations Oct. 1

                      Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi, Ltd. and NEC Corporation today announced that Japan Certification Services, Inc., jointly established by the three companies, would start operations on October 1. To enable electronic commerce (EC) to develop and flourish over the Internet and other open networks, the ability for parties to a transaction to be able to safely and securely exchange data and confirm each other's identity is of crucial importance. The new company will ensure security of electronic transactions by acting as a proxy issuer of electronic certificates using a public-key encryption system.

                      In July 1996 the three companies jointly developed the Secure Electronic Commerce Environment (SECE), a protocol for ensuring secure settlement of payments over networks. On September 8, version 1.0 of the SECE specification was announced. The new company will act as a certification authority specializing in the proxy issuance of electronic certificates that comply with electronic certification functions formulated and developed within the SECE framework. Moves are now underway to provide an international infrastructure for electronic verification and certification systems. In Japan, the action by three of the nation's leading companies to establish a neutral, authoritative electronic certification issuing service organization is expected to make a significant contribution to the progress and development of EC.

                      "It is a historical event for Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC and so many leading Japanese companies from various industries to jointly establish a new company." said Mr. Naoyuki Akikusa, Executive Vice President of Fujitsu, adding, "I am sure that EC businesses over the open network will expand based on the basic security foundation provided by this new certification company. Fujitsu will meet customer requirements to develop optimal, secure EC systems by integrating the services of this company together with Fujitsu's other products and services."

                      Shigemichi Matsuka , Senior Executive Managing Director of Hitachi, said, "The security of information and the reliability of information systems are of key importance to an electronic commerce society. In cooperation with Fujitsu and NEC, Hitachi looks forward to providing information services with a high level of security and reliability, via the new company."

                      Eiichi Yoshikawa, senior vice president of NEC, said, "To encourage both consumers and business users to realize the potential benefits from electronic commerce in Japan, security problems on the Internet is the No. 1 issue that must be solved. This can be achieved through the mutual efforts of leading Japanese information technology companies such as Hitachi, Fujitsu and NEC. I believe Certification Authorities like this new company can provide safety and convenience for every entity in the cyberworld. NEC intends to contribute to promoting electronic commerce globally by providing products and services for security solutions.

                      In the basic EC transaction model, credit card companies, banks and other such financial institutions issue their own certificates in respect of individuals and companies, based on their own confirmation procedures and assessment of creditworthiness in each case. However, in such an arrangement the certificate itself plays an important role at the actual place where the transaction takes place. As such, the operation and administration of the system has to meet very stringent security standards.

                      This is where Japan Certification Services comes in. The company will be able to draw on a comprehensive array of advanced technological resources to develop and operate specialized certification systems, with its advanced technologies for EC and experiences in various EC related testbed projects.

                      All that the end certifier - the credit card company or bank - will have to do is provide the results of its creditworthiness assessment, after which Japan Certification Services will handle the issuing of the electronic certificate and all the related arrangements, thereby relieving the end certifier of the burden of having to handle the complex proceduresand arrangements.

                      Initially the only function the new company will have is to issue and manage certificates. Operations of its computer systems will be contracted out to the outsourcing centers of the three founding companies. This arrangement offers further security by enabling the centers to back up one another's operations. Certification system operation procedures will comply with standards specified in the related set of guidelines now being prepared by Electronic Commerce Promotion Council in Japan (ECOM).

                      The three main founding companies are the majority shareholders in the new company. There are 46 minority shareholders. Total capitalization is 470 million yen. The president of the new company is Katsuyuki Tokura of Fujitsu. There will be one board director from Hitachi and one from NEC.

                      Founded in 1935, Fujitsu Limited is an international leader in information technology, telecommunications, semiconductors and other electronic devices. The Fujitsu Group of over 400 technology, software and service companies posted global revenues of more than US 36 billion dollars in the fiscal year ended March 31, 1997.

                      Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is one of the world's leading global electronics companies, with fiscal 1996 (ending March 31, 1997) consolidated sales of 8,523 billion yen (US 68.7 billion dollars). The company manufactures and markets a wide range of products, including computers, semiconductors, consumer products and power and industrial equipment.

                      NEC Corp., founded in 1899, is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and had net sales of 4.9 trillion yen (US 39.9 billion dollars) in the 1996-97 fiscal year. NEC manufactures and markets a broad range of products, including computer systems, communications systems, which extends from switching systems to cellular phones, and electronic devices, which extends from microprocessors to memory chips.

                      Outline of new company
                      Company name: Japan Certification Services, Inc.
                      Location: Cosmo Kanasugibashi Building, 10-11, Shiba 1-chome, Minato- ku, Tokyo, Japan
                      Capital: 470 million yen
                      Shareholders: Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi, Ltd. and NEC Corporation each invested 80 million yen, or 17.02%, for a total of 51.06%. Other shareholders, numbering 46 (see attached list for details), each invested 5 million yen, or 1.064% of the total, or a combined total for the 46 companies of 48.94%.

                      Officers:
                      President: Katsuyuki Tokura
                      (formerly General Manager of Fujitsu's Software & Service Business Promotion Group)
                      Board directors: Seiji Kobayashi
                      (formerly Special Assistant to the Group Executive of Hitachi's Information Systems Group)
                      Tadayoshi Nagasako
                      (formerly Chief Manager of NEC's Electronic Commerce Business Promotion Division)
                      (plus three executives and an auditor on secondment)

                      Basic service charges
                      For consumers: 18 million yen per certification unit per year (first 15,000)
                      450 yen per certificate per year (after first 15,000)
                      Member stores: 36,000 yen per certificate per year

                      Notes
                      1. The above charges are the cost to the certification issuing entity, i.e. credit card company or bank, and do not signify a charge billed directly to an individual or member store.
                      2. The service contract with the issuing entity will be for a set time period determined by Japan Certification Services. The validity period of individual transaction certificates may be set at the discretion of the issuing entity.
                      3. The above "certification unit" implies "brand" for the credit industry. In case one entity deals with several brands, one brand is understood as one certification unit.
                      4. Member store is a collective term used by credit card companies to describe enterprises that sell merchandise via a network and wish to be paid electronically.

                      Service option charges
                      Options other than the basic service, such as data archive contracts, will be calculated based on individual estimates.

                      Target customers
                      Initially services will be aimed at credit card companies and banks where there is a clearly-defined demand. In the future, it is planned to expand certification services to other business sectors such as securities, insurance, EC transactions between enterprises, and, when there is a clearly-defined demand, to public utility services and the like.

                      Service outline
                      * Electronic certification proxy issuing services.
                      * Consulting services to financial clients that are the electronic certification issuing entities (Option).
                      * Planning and design support relating to the construction of computer systems for issuing electronic certificates (Option).

                      Shareholders of Japan Certification Services, Inc.
                      (Total of forty-nine companies)

                      The Asahi Bank, Ltd.
                      AEON CREDIT SERVICE CO., LTD.
                      ITOCHU Corp.
                      NTT Data Communications Systems Corporation
                      NTT Learning Systems Corporation
                      The Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank, Ltd.
                      Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.
                      Orient Corp.
                      Credit Saison Co., Ltd.
                      The Sakura Bank, Ltd.
                      THE SANWA BANK, LTD.
                      JCB CO., LTD.
                      The Sumitomo Marine & Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.
                      The Sumitomo Bank, Ltd.
                      The Sumitomo Credit Service Co., Ltd.
                      Sumitomo Corp.
                      Sumitomo Life Insurance Co.
                      The Dai - Ichi Kangyo Bank, Ltd.
                      The DAI-ICHI MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
                      Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.
                      The Daiwa Bank, Ltd.
                      Daiwa Securities Co., Ltd.
                      THE CHIBA BANK, LTD.
                      DC CARD CO., LTD.
                      THE TOKAI BANK, LTD.
                      The Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.
                      The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd.
                      TOPPAN Printing Co., Ltd.
                      THE NICHIDO FIRE & MARINE INSURANCE CO., LTD.
                      The Nikko Securities Co., Ltd.
                      The Industrial Bank of Japan, Ltd.
                      Nippon Shinpan Co., Ltd.
                      Nippon Life Insurance Company
                      THE DINERS CLUB OF JAPAN, INC.
                      THE NOMURA SECURITIES CO., LTD.
                      Hitachi Credit Corporation
                      THE FUJI BANK, LTD.
                      Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
                      MARUBENI CORPORATION
                      MITSUI MARINE AND FIRE INSURANCE CO., Ltd.
                      Mitsui & Co., Ltd.
                      MILLION CARD SERVICE CO., LTD.
                      THE YASUDA FIRE & MARINE INSURANCE CO., LTD.
                      Yamaichi Securities Company, Limited
                      UC CARD Co., Ltd.
                      The Bank of Yokohama, Ltd.

                      NEC Corporation
                      Hitachi, Ltd.
                      Fujitsu Limited


                      WRITTEN BY Secretary's Office
                      All Rights Reserved, Copyright (C) 1997, Hitachi, Ltd.

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