Payment Infrastructure Trends in Japan, Part 1: Extended Operating Hours and Zengin EDI System (ZEDI)

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14 August 2019

Key research questions

  • How is the payment infrastructure landscape changing and how is Japan responding?
  • What is the history of the evolution of the Zengin System?
  • What changes are being demanded of the Zengin System and what steps are being taken?


The first in this series on payment infrastructure, this report examines developments in the retail payments infrastructure related to the extended Zengin System operating hours and operation of the EDI (electronic data interchange) system. In Part 2 of this series, the focus shifts to BOJ-NET (the Bank of Japan Financial Network System) to examine primarilydevelopments in wholesale payment infrastructure.

Japan’s payment infrastructure has been steadily evolving in line with a policy proposal produced in 2015 by a working group operating under the Financial Services Agency’s Financial System Council. Part 1 of this report examines the extended operation of the Zengin System and its significance in the retail sector as a foundation for building new payment services that bring together financial elements and IT. In Part 2, Celent considers advancements in payment services that support corporate growth through the effective use of BOJ-NET.

In November 2018, the Japanese Bankers Association and Zengin Net launched a new platform—the so-called “more time system.” This extends the operation hours of the Zengin System, the backbone of the nation’s bank payment infrastructure, extending the service hours of financial services related to fund transfers. As a result, together the existing and new system will enable round-the-clock operations 365 days a year,making it possible to confirm the receipt of funds from other banks in real time.

In addition, the Zengin EDI System (ZEDI) migrated in December 2018 to XML-formatted electronic message usage, the international standard for electronic financial transactions between companies. This financial EDI platform makes it possible to attach commercial information to domestic fund transfers. This new EDI platform and extended operating hours have advanced Japan’s payment infrastructure and ushered it into a new era.

Information System Architecture Supporting Future Financial Services

(Source: BOJ, Zengin, Celent)