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                      | HITACHI HOME | UP | SEARCH | HITACHI

                      News Release

                      July 22, 1998

                      Toppan Printing, Hitachi, and Asahi Shimbun to establish joint venture: Image Mall Japan, Inc.

                      Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., Hitachi, Ltd., and Asahi Shimbun today announced that the three companies have reached an agreement to establish a joint-venture company, Image Mall Japan, Inc. Hitachi and Toppan Printing have been collecting digitized data content and operating an archiving and distribution system as a trial project since August 1997. Market and industry conditions have convinced the two companies that the time is ripe to turn this into a business. Recognizing the future prospects of this enterprise and its potential to make a meaningful contribution to society, Asahi Shimbun has also decided to participate.

                      The heart of the business will be a digital archive of cultural and historical artifacts of universal value. This will be operated jointly by the three corporations, with full-fledged operations set to begin on October 1, 1998.

                      Background

                      • It is estimated that by the year 2005 the multimedia data content market in Japan will be worth 40 trillion yen. With the advent of a true multimedia society, the need for systems that can respond to the enormous demand for data content will greatly increase.
                      • The preservation (archiving) of humanity's most important works of art and historical artifacts, and their use in education and in passing cultural heritage on to future generations, are significant undertakings.
                      • Since August 1997, Hitachi and Toppan Printing have been collecting digitized data content and operating Image Mall Japan as a trial project. This has included:
                      1. Verification of the "Consignment System" to which owners and copyright holders consign licensing of their cultural and historical digitized objects.
                      2. Building a large-scale digital database.
                      3. Delivering digital content over the Internet (license sales).
                      4. Constructing a networked art museum (cyber museum).
                      5. Building an electronic museum system.
                      • Through the above activities, we have been constructing and expanding a digital 'deposit' system (collecting digital data while protecting the rights of the 'depositors') as well as establishing the marketability of the business.

                      Overview of the new company
                      1. Outline
                      A. Name: Image Mall Japan, Inc.
                      B. Date of establishment: October 1, 1998 (scheduled)
                      C. Location: Kyodo Bldg.6F, 3-29, Kanda-Jimbo-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
                      D. Chief Executive Officer: Masao Komori
                      E. Capitalization: 400 million yen (planned)
                      F. Ownership: Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.: 51%
                      Hitachi, Ltd.: 44%
                      Asahi Shimbun: 5%
                      G. Number of employees: Approximately 20 (Initial)

                      2. Lines of business
                      Digitizing, archiving and distributing a variety of data content having cultural and historical value, including art works, historical photographs and documents from around the world, with the cooperation of their owners and copyright holders, and providing the following services.
                      A. Construction of a digitized data content database system and delivery of the digital data.
                      B. Publishing of original set/series of multimedia titles and the creation of networked art museums and electronic museums.

                      3. Business plan
                      6,000 million yen annual revenue after five years.

                      4. Vision
                      As part of the infrastructure of the Multimedia Age, the three companies intend to collect multimedia data content of cultural and historical value and to construct and manage one of the world's largest digital image databases.

                      5. Roles of the parent companies

                      • Toppan Printing
                        Collecting and digitizing data content obtained through contacts with information-related entities (newspapers; publishers, advertising agencies; corporate PR, advertising, and sales promotion departments), production, manufacturing, marketing, etc.
                      • Hitachi
                        Support of technical system development (networks, databases, security, high definition digital image system, 3D graphics software, communication satellite broadcasting).
                      • Asahi Shimbun
                        Support with editorial and production know-how, abundant experience in multimedia business, and secondary use of accumulated contents, from the aspect of a comprehensive information-related enterprise.

                      About Toppan Printing:
                      Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. head office in Tokyo was established 1900 by a number of technicians from the printing Bureau of Japan's Ministry of finance and commenced business using the galvanoglyph relief printing method ,which at that time was the leading technology in Japan. Since then, Toppan has maintained its leading position in the industry ,meeting client needs and expanding its business through the application of advance an d progressive technologies. Its business encompasses seven different major areas; securities and cards, commercial printing, publications printing, packaging, industrial materials, electronics components, and multimedia. The net sales in fiscal 1997 ended March 31, 1998, was 966.6 billion yen (7.3 billion dollars). For more information on Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., please visit Toppan's Web site at http://www.toppan.co.jp/.

                      About Hitachi:
                      Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is one of the world's leading global electronics companies, with fiscal 1997 (ending March 31, 1998) consolidated sales of 8,417 billion yen (63.8 billion dollars*). 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.
                      *At an exchange rate of 132 yen to the dollar

                      About Asahi Shimbun:
                      Asahi Shimbun, Ltd., head office in Tokyo, Osaka, Kitakyushu and Nagoya, Japan, established in 1879. Asahi Shimbun is one of the world's highest circulation newspaper, with a circulation of 8.36 million copies for its morning edition, and a further 4.33 million copies for its evening edition, has annual sales of 417 billion yen (March, 1997). In addition to newspaper publishing service, there are publication service, Internet information service and Communication Satellite Broadcasting. For more information on Asahi Shimbun, Ltd., please visit Asahi Shimbun's Web site at http://www.asahi.com.


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

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