Sony Corp and Fujitsu Ltd have teamed up to jointly develop an encrypted database to prevent foreigners using fake Japanese language proficiency certificates to gain student entry into Japan.
The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is Japan’s only nationally recognized standardized test for expertise in Japanese language for non-native speakers. Foreigners must submit a JLPT certificate of a required proficiency level to Japanese employers or academic institutions that they apply to for work or study in Japan.
The JLPT can be taken in Japan or abroad. When taken overseas, a JLPT certificate can be issued through accredited overseas Japanese language schools. However, there have been cases where foreigners submit faked or illegal copies of certificates to get past the language requirement in Japan. In Vietnam, for example, a local broker was suspected of fabricating certificates last year, reported major Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun (Feb 26).
To counter the problem, Sony and Fujitsu will leverage blockchain technology to create their database. It taps Fujitsu’s online learning system with a blockchain developed by Sony’s subsidiary, Sony Global Education Inc. The companies are to begin testing the database from the end of February at Human Academy Co, a firm running Japanese language schools in Tokyo, Osaka, and Saga. Sony and Fujitsu target to put the database into full operation within the 2019 fiscal year, which begins in April.
With the blockchain database, foreigners hoping to study in Japan will have all their data, course completions, and issued certificates registered on the blockchain.
Applying blockchain technology to tackle the problem of fake diplomas is slowly gaining traction with universities and educational institutions around the world. For instance, the government of Malta just announced last week that it will store all educational certificates from state, private, and parochial schools in the country on a blockchain.