Mizuho sets sights on digitising Japanese exports and imports with DLT

Technology Update | 28 April 2017

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Mizuho Financial Group, Mizuho Bank and IBM Japan have joined the pursuit to digitising trade and trade finance using blockchain technology.

The trio have set their sights on building a distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform capable of streamlining trading processes, improving supply chain efficiency, and has financing from Mizuho built into it.

Mizuho expects to conduct its first real trade transaction using the platform in June 2017.

“We are pleased to be the market leader in Japan in powering our processes and workflows with distributed ledger technology and continue to work aggressively towards expanding our portfolio of its implementations across the group,” said Daisuke Yamada, managing executive officer and chief digital innovation officer at Mizuho Financial Group.

“The global expertise in digital technology of IBM complements our vision and has opened further avenues for us to tap the potential of distributed ledger in transforming our processes and workflows for better enterprise agility, transparency and regulatory reporting.”

For IBM, this represents yet another partnership to develop a distributed ledger platform with a multinational corporation.

The technology company partnered with Maersk in March 2017 with the aim of digitising the shipping industry, and struck a three-way partnership with Natixis and Trafigura later in the same month, this time targeting the US crude oil market.

This latest partnership with Mizuho Financial Group and Mizuho Bank is aimed at digitising “letters of credit for actual trade transactions between Japan and overseas clients,” a statement from IBM said.

Importers, exports and their banks will be able to exchange documents on the platform, and view the latest shipment status data.

“The Mizuho Financial Group and Mizuho Bank’s project marks an important step in using blockchain technology for actual operations in trade finance,” said Masao Sanbe, managing director, industry sales at IBM Japan.

“In working with global trade networks to digitise documentation and processes, IBM recognises the potential of blockchain to help streamline financial trade services.”

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