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In July 1996, the Civil Affairs Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Justice set up the Study Group on the Legal System of Electronic Commerce to study the a variety of legal issues that could impact the growth of electronic commerce. The Study Group held five general assemblies by March 1998 and set up two subcommittees, the System Subcommittee which discussed the foundation of systems necessary to realize secure electronic commerce and applications and the Substantive Law Subcommittee which discussed issues concerning substantive law and the need for amendment of substantive law.

In addition to discussions, the Study Group conducted a "Questionnaire on the Need for the Electronic Authentication and Notarization Systems" to research circumstances of electronic commerce and applications and the demand for the electronic authentication and notarization systems. An interim report was published in March 1997 based on these discussions and the Questionnaire. The final report, Report on the Legal System of Electronic Commerce(full-text) was published in 1998.

The System Subcommittee was closed after the report was published, although discussions at the Substantive Law Subcommittee continued.