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Business

Japan to certify big-data providers to drive innovation

Maps, other information will be gathered, shared by authorized entities

Cargo ships may be able to operate with better fuel efficiency by making use of big data.

TOKYO -- The Japanese government will begin certifying companies and organizations that gather and compile various kinds of information and offer them as useful data for product development and other purposes.

The so-called big-data banks, which will likely qualify for tax breaks, will make consolidated data available to corporations and research institutions. The government hopes that the sharing of data will lead to creation of new businesses and improvements in productivity.

Data likely to be collected include three-dimensional maps, ship and satellite information, and images captured by cameras. Government-owned data will also be provided to complement private-sector data. Map data from the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan would be an example.

In the automotive field, manufacturer-owned data on vehicle behaviors can be combined with weather data to help develop safer autonomous driving technology.

Businesses that already offer big-data services using their own data may be designated as data banks when they meet certain criteria. One possibility is Dynamic Map Platform, a Tokyo-based company founded jointly by Mitsubishi Electric, map and surveying companies, and automakers.

In marine shipping, ShipDC, founded in 2015, may be designated as a big-data bank. Cargo ship navigation data and wind directions gauged by offshore wind turbines, for instance, could be combined to help facilitate energy-saving navigation. Offshore resource exploration companies, like the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., could also use data related to sea transportation.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will drive the initiative. They will assess safety, social significance, potential for international business and other aspects for designating a company as a big-data bank under this program. The certification will last for five years, and the business will qualify for tax benefits on related capital investments.

The government-backed Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan will monitor the data banks periodically to ensure that proper cybersecurity measures are being taken. The data banks will be required to sign contracts with clients that conform with guidelines drawn up by the industry ministry in May to prevent conflicts among businesses related to data ownership and profit allocations.

This initiative may be included in a bill to revise the law on boosting industrial competitiveness that will be submitted to the Diet as early as the ordinary session next year.

(Nikkei)

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