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Japan (Finally) Joining E-Commerce Revolution

Previously slow to develop e-commerce, Japanese businesses and banks are planning for major Internet malls to be launched in 2000. Leading is a group of 600 banks and companies that is slated to launch an interactive program allowing consumers to pay for purchases on the Internet from their bank accounts. Fuji Bank is the main financial partner. Five hundred companies including Toppan Printing Co., Microsoft Japan Co., All Nippon Airways, and discount retailer Bic Camera are also members of the venture. Other major Japanese banks, including Sumitomo and Sanwa, are jointly conducting studies to set up a similar-style mall. Forecasts for the value of Japan's e-commerce market by 2005 top US$250 billion (30 trillion yen).

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