Sony Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. have partnered to develop an encrypted database that will prevent Japanese proficiency documents from being forged. According to a February 26 report from the Asahi Shimbun, the database will utilize blockchain technology.
The two companies plan to put the distributed ledger into test operation from the end of this month and are aiming to put it into practical use in fiscal 2019, which starts in April.
Forging Japanese educational qualifications has been on the rise in the country, as foreigners have to submit certain certificates to Japan’s Immigration Bureau in order to obtain resident status to study in Japan. The immigration bureau requires all applicants to prove they passed Japanese language proficiency tests or took a Japanese language course for a certain number of hours, the Asahi Shimbun reported.
These certificates are usually issued by Japanese language educational institutions abroad and then sent to Japanese language schools in Japan. The schools then submit the documents to the Immigration Bureau on behalf of those institutions. This leaves a lot of room for manipulation, as it’s become more common to find illegal fabrications of those documents. According to Japanese media, many of these fakes were coming from Vietnam.
The new platform will combine the best tech the two companies have to offer – Fujitsu’s online learning system and Sony’s blockchain. In using the platform, Japanese language schools can compare certificates with data registered on the blockchain in order to verify that the documents are authentic.
The companies will run trials on the platform in March, after which it will be deployed for real-world use in April. The Human Academy, a company which runs Japanese language schools in the cities of Osaka, Saga, and Tokyo, will host the trials.