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                      | HITACHI HOME | UP | SEARCH | HITACHI

                      News Release

                      January 21, 1998

                      ASCII and Hitachi to cooperate in Multimedia Content Business

                      - February start for joint pilot scheme for Internet-based education business -

                      ASCII CORPORATION and Hitachi, Ltd. today announced that the two companies have reached agreement to carry out joint studies on an Internet/intranet-based remote education business. At the same time, in February the two companies will start a joint trial program involving some 10,000 subjects drawn mainly from their own employees and customer corporations.

                      Under the agreement the two companies will carry out joint studies on the commercial implementation of Network-Based Training (NBT), which uses the Internet and intranets to provide corporate personnel with educational and training courses. The most notable feature of this service is that each student can proceed at his or her own pace, while the service caters for each individual's educational needs. The use of a network means that the content is always more up-to-date than programs using CD-ROMs, and users can compile their own library of information that can be accessed at any time via their PCs. Another feature of the service is its dynamic nature that enables two-way, interactive consulting and testing. In February the two companies will start joint trials of the service for up to 10,000 students. Most of the students will be drawn from ASCII and Hitachi's own personnel, while a few trial sites will also be set up at some of their existing customer installations. The trial environment will consist of a service center that will provide the content for various courses to intranet servers at a number of trial implementation locations, and individual users will use their PCs to access the educational content.

                      The expansion of the Internet, intranets, digital broadcasting and other such network infrastructures together with advances in multimedia technology, including CD-ROM and DVD, are opening up possibilities for the commercial implementation of network-based remote services in a number of fields such as education and healthcare information.

                      The rapid pace of change in the corporate environment in particular has created a need for companies to provide their employees with timely educational and training courses to equip them for their roles in the electronic information society and corporate internationalization programs. Additionally, legislation is gradually being enacted to support and promote attempts by individual employees to learn more, as well as the corporate-based implementation of personnel development programs. Taken together, these factors are helping to generate rapid growth of the market for educational services aimed at corporations and individuals.

                      ASCII CORPORATION publishes a broad range of print and CD-ROM-package based content that includes computer magazines, PC-related educational courseware, edutainment and entertainment, and is now positioning itself for the expansion of the remote services market by focusing on the area of network-based content services where it can utilize its existing content.

                      Hitachi has an extensive record of achievement in the development and provision of hardware/software infrastructures in the information technology field. The company positions the content service business, encompassing content ranging from information relating to public utilities and corporations to healthcare information, shopping and entertainment, as well as network services for use by content providers, as being of major importance to its information systems strategy, and is actively seeking alliances with corporations that possess quality content.

                      ASCII CORPORATION headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the largest publisher of computer-related materials and produces a diverse array of computer games, with fiscal 1996 (ending March 31, 1997) consolidated sales of 52 billion yen. For more information on ASCII CORPORATION, please visit ASCII's Web site at http://www.ascii.co.jp.

                      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. The company manufactures and markets a wide range of products, including computers, semiconductors, consumer products and power and industrial equipment. For more information on Hitachi, Ltd., please visit Hitachi 's Web site at http://www.hitachi.co.jp.


                      WRITTEN BY Secretary's Office
                      All Rights Reserved, Copyright (C) 1998, Hitachi, Ltd.

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