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Australia and Japan showcase cross-border verifiable credentials

Australia and Japan showcase cross-border verifiable credentials

In recent years, Australia and Japan have both launched digital identity initiatives allowing their citizens to verify themselves online. The two countries now working on the first-ever initiative that will allow their citizens to use verifiable credentials across the border with the help of their largest financial institutions and Australian digital identity ConnectID.

The initiative is called Japan-Australia Cross-Border Interoperability Working Group and gathers private companies, including Japan’s largest smart card maker DNP (Dai Nippon Printing) and largest bank MUFG Bank on one side and Australian Payments Plus, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) on the other. Also participating in the project is Australia’s decentralized identity technology provider Meeco.

Last week, the companies showcased their first verification test for cross-border interoperability at the European Identity and Cloud Conference 2024 in Berlin. During the presentation video, the group showcased how an Australian tourist to Japan would be able to book a tour on the Japanese travel website Sumu by using verifiable credentials (VCs) issued by ConnectID, initiated by Australian Payments Plus.

“For the last six months, what we’ve been looking to do as a working group is to explore the technical, the legal and the commercial possibilities to actually put a trust framework and a technical interchange in between Australia and Japan,” says Katryna Dow, CEO and founder of Meeco.

The initiative is the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region and plans to bank on the growing economic exchange between the two countries, including tourism, education, trade and employment.

Among other popular use cases are streamlining bank account openings for Japanese students and workers in Australia. Another issue that could be solved is avoiding purchasing forged concert tickets and trading cards which have recently become a challenge for Japanese retailers, says Rintaro Okamoto, DNP’s head of business development for decentralized identity.

“Cases where identification is required for purchasing popular items or Japanese tours have increased. Japanese service providers are looking for better ways to verify customers to prevent fraudulent sales,” says Okamoto.

The connection verification test, conducted in May, took into account European Digital Identity (EUDI) Wallet technical specifications and protocols designed by the OpenID Foundation, a non-profit international standards organization.

The next step for the working group is demonstration tests for different use cases that are aimed at improving customer experiences in Japan and Australia, such as tourist ticket purchases and bank account opening for migrants.

In April, Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on digital identities and trust services with the EU, allowing experience exchange on the EUDI Wallet and digital IDs.

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