Industry leaders called on the government Mar. 10 to support and promote electronic commercial transactions, an important tool for Japanese companies in maintaining global competitiveness.

The request was made during a meeting between Shinji Sato, the minister for international trade and industry, and 13 business leaders representing a wide range of industries, according to a MITI official. Participants from the business side included Takashi Imai, president of Nippon Steel Corp., Norio Oga, chairman of Sony Corp., Yoshifumi Tsuji, chairman of Nissan Motor Co., and Shunsaku Hashimoto, president of Sakura Bank.

During the meeting, the industry representatives emphasized the importance of harmonizing transaction rules and formats to smoothly expand the use of electronic commercial transactions, the official said. While pledging their own efforts and initiative in creating such rules, they also asked for government assistance, especially in harmonizing rules and helping small and medium-size companies to catch up, he said.

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