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Large Japanese firms to develop the "Japan Metaverse Economic Zone"

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(Kitco News) - A group of well-known Japanese companies – including Mizuho, Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Mitsui – have announced a new collaboration designed to help advance Japan’s metaverse plans with the creation of the “Japan Metaverse Economic Zone.”

According to the agreement signed on Feb. 16 by ten participating corporations, they will work together to build an open metaverse infrastructure called Ryugukoku by utilizing JP Games’ “Pegasus World Kit” (PWK) metaverse construction framework.

Ryugukoku will “enable interoperability between different Metaverse platforms, as well as collaboration among Metaverse platforms, and will serve as a new social infrastructure for enterprise DX [digital transformation] such as information dissemination, marketing, work style reform for domestic enterprises, marketing, as well as consumer DX and consumer EX (Experience Transformation),” the release said.

Former Square Enix executive and JP Games CEO Hajime Tabata will spearhead the collaboration designed to “update Japan through the power of games.” The endeavor is referred to as an “industrial design initiative that utilizes gaming technology and was established by way of each company’s endorsement of the concept.”

The participating companies have agreed to integrate their technologies and services, including gamification and fintech, to build out Japan's technical infrastructure.

Ryugukoku is expected to create an open and secure metaverse infrastructure for safe identity authentication, insurance, payments, and data infrastructure. The new social platform will also be used for marketing, information dissemination and workstyle reform for domestic enterprises.

The protocol will offer users a Role Playing Game (RPG)-like experience where each metaverse service and all content presented “takes the form of a moving ‘city,’ ‘castle,’ or ‘vehicle’ that roams around that virtual world,” the release said. “Users will be able to engage in an RPG-like experience as they travel through different realms and encounter a variety of contents and services.”

Japanese banking giant Mizuho has agreed to provide infrastructure for “metaverse coins,” while Mitsubishi will provide support in establishing the “multi-magic passport” (MMP), which is an “authentication certificate with a payment function that allows uses to freely travel to and from metaverse services within Ryugukoku.”

Mitsubishi is also the global partner in charge of “expanding the overseas and economic sphere” of the new metaverse platform. Sompo Japan Insurance will work on insurance and risk policy development for the Web3 era.

Eventually, the service is likely to be extended beyond Japan to other jurisdictions and governments. The companies involved plan to one day provide the infrastructure to companies and government agencies outside of Japan, helping to “expand the Japan Metaverse Economic Zone globally.”

Big in Japan: SoftBank partners with Oasys for blockchain gaming as SBI tightens its grip on crypto trading

Japan has been one of the most active and open jurisdictions for cryptocurrencies in recent years. Last year, Fumio Kishida, the Prime Minister of Japan, revealed plans to invest in expanding the country’s non-fungible token (NFT) and metaverse industries, and the Japan Credit Bureau launched the “JCBDC” project, which is designed to develop and test settlement solutions for central bank digital currencies.

In February, Bank of Japan (BoJ) executive director Shinichi Uchida announced that the central bank will be launching the next phase of its pilot program for the digital yen in April, once the proof-of-concept (PoC) testing that began in 2021 is complete. The next phase will mainly focus on connecting the various systems that will be involved with the digital yen, including the BoJ, intermediary network systems, other stakeholders, and users by way of intermediaries.

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