A consortium of five Japanese banks has teamed up to launch a new blockchain-based financial services infrastructure, in a move designed to leverage the benefits of blockchain for the banking sector. The platform, known as \u2018Fitting Hub\u2019, will support a number of different blockchain-powered services. The first service, an electronic delivery service for handling data between institutions, is expected to launch in April. The platform is the result of collaboration between Bank of Iwate, Bank of Yokohama, Aomori Bank, Akita Bank and Yamanashi Chuo Bank, who are reported to be working with IBM in developing the technologies. According to information published at the time the platform was first announced, full launch is slated for July 2019. The press release announcing the launch of the platform described how the technology would reduce costs as well as improving the efficiency of data exchange. It stated, \u201cWith the electronic delivery service that will be launched this time, it is possible to receive and manage form data from multiple financial institutions and companies on one screen.\u201d \u201cFor financial institutions and business operators who provide services, such joint service provision can make the system inexpensive compared to separate systems, as well as greatly reduce postage and mailing costs,\u201d it added. According to the press release, the platform will also incorporate settlement and authentication services, as part of a broader suite of systems integral to banking functions. The project is the latest in a series of major blockchain projects to come from Japan in recent months, with the country emerging as a global powerhouse for blockchain development and innovation. This follows on from a change of approach by the Japanese government, which has adopted a more favourable approach to supporting nascent blockchain sectors in recent months. It also represents the latest move from the mainstream financial world towards adopting blockchain technologies, increasingly becoming central to banking tech systems. In February, Mizuho announced plans for its own cryptocurrency platform complete with unique stablecoin, while local securities broker Daiwa said it had successfully completed a post-trade processing blockchain trial.