Hitachi Ltd. announced that it will establish a new division to promote and develop electronic cash systems, with particular emphasis on Mondex, the smart card system.

Hitachi, a manufacturer of computer chips and electronic devices, supplies the chips and readers for Mondex, the British smart card company owned by National Westminster Bank and Midland Bank. Mondex has developed a stored-value card system for world consumption.

Akira Koizumi, managing director of Hitachi Europe Ltd,. said the new division will become the core group for Hitachi's project to develop a broad range of next-generation financial systems.

Tim Jones, Mondex' chief executive, said the move represents "a significant commitment by (Hitachi) to establish a strong position in this new area."

Mr. Jones added, "I'm very enthusiastic about the prospects of Mondex in Japan. We're talking to a number of leading financial institutions there."

Mondex has relationships with other Japanese suppliers, including Die Nippon Printing, OKI Electric, and Panasonic.

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