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News Release

Working Towards the Payment of Public Charges by Credit Card:
Establishment of a "Forum for the Payment of Public Charges by Credit Card"

November 10, 2005

As part of a drive to make it possible to pay public charges by credit card, The Japan Research Institute, Limited ("JRI"; Head office: 16 Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Shunichi Okuyama) in collaboration with local government bodies around Japan, to which the responsibility for introducing such schemes will fall, JRI intends, on November 11, to establish a Forum for the Payment of Public Charges by Credit Card ("Smart C-Pay Forum") that will allow the sharing of information and discussion of issues relating to the payment of public charges by credit card.

1. Background and Purpose

Among the various channels that can be used for the payment of public charges, payment at convenience stores has won popular support and is spreading nationwide. Steps are also being taken to diversify payment channels and the use of "Pay-easy" and other multi-payment networks, which represent the next generation of payment services, is growing.

Against this backdrop, more than 80% of the National Hospital Organization has already introduced schemes that allow payment by credit card, and credit cards are suddenly attracting interest as a familiar and convenient channel for the payment of public charges. The government's response to last fiscal year's proposal to establish a special zone for structural reform expresses the view that "the payment of taxes by credit card is possible under existing legislation".

Furthermore, local government bodies overseas and other organizations that have introduced schemes for payment by credit card are said to find that the benefits exceed the costs, reducing the burden of payment acceptance work and offsetting the cost of revising work processes and similar benefits are expected in Japan.

JRI has already established and is operating an "Electronic Local Government Forum" with a view to promoting the "e-Japan" initiative. The decision, as a think-tank, to establish a Forum for the Payment of Public Charges by Credit Card, of which it will act as the secretariat, is intended to promote the establishment of a methodology for effecting payment of local taxes, etc. by credit card, which offers benefits to all entities involved.

2. Activities

(1) Exchange of Views by E-mail
A mailing list will be established to allow forum members to exchange views and questions regarding the payment of public charges and discuss issues and benefits arising. The major (proposed) topics to be debated by means of the mailing list are:
・The establishment of legislation providing for the payment of public charges
・The use of credit card payment schemes by local governments overseas
・The costs versus benefits of adopting credit card payment schemes
・The division of labor between government and private sectors in the introduction of credit card schemes, procedures for introduction, etc.

(2) Workshops
As the debate using the mailing list will be conducted over the Internet and will not involve face-to-face discussion, the Forum will be organizing workshops in five locations around Japan, both to allow members to meet face-to-face and to provide a forum for direct exchange of information in which local government bodies in the surrounding region can participate.

The first workshop will be held in Sapporo on November 25, the second in Fukuoka on December 16. These are due to be followed by workshops in Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo in January through March.

The content of these workshops, which are to be organized in collaboration with Visa International and with the support of the Japan Consumer Credit Industry Association, among other sponsors, will provide a wide range of information on payment by credit card. Demonstrations of Internet payment websites, etc. will be followed by discussion with the participants.

3. Qualification for Membership, etc.

The target membership of the Forum for the Payment of Public Charges by Credit Card is local government employees. Besides local government bodies that have already decided to introduce credit card payment schemes, the Forum will be open to individual employees who express an interest in credit card payment schemes. (Note that, as a general rule, it will be possible to register only E-mail addresses at local government bodies, not private E-mail addresses.) Participation will be free of charge.

Applications to participate in the Forum can be submitted and information on the Forum and workshops will be posted at http://www.jri.co.jp/consul/c-pay/

Inquiries
Members of the Press
Yoshiteru Muto, PR Division, The Japan Research Institute, Limited

Tel: 03-3288-5360
E-mail:muto.yoshiteru@jri.co.jp

Members of the Public
Shigeru Takamura, Research Business Headquarters, The Japan Research Institute, Limited

Tel: 03-3288-4187
E-mail:takamura.shigeru@jri.co.jp

Shigeru Takamura, Research Business Headquarters, The Japan Research Institute, Limited

Tel: 03-3288-4692
E-mail:kagawa.y@jri.co.jp

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