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Eurogiro - Your Global Payments Community

Eurogiro is a unique payments network that connects different payments "ecosystems", e.g. postal organisations, post banks, commercial banks and other payment service providers, focusing on cross border high volume - low value payments.

Eurogiro facilitates members' cooperation in the field of international payments and offers efficient solutions supporting their offering to clients. Thereby Eurogiro helps increasing the business of its members.

To learn more, contact us at [email protected] or read What Eurogiro can do for you.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and its effects on Japan Post Bank’s Eurogiro business

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011, followed by a tsunami, resulted in more than 14,000 people losing their lives and, even now, over 11,000 people remain unaccounted for. Approximately 130,000 are homeless or have had to be evacuated. In addition to the earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima nuclear power-plant radiation leakage is casting a gloomy shadow on hopes of putting people’s lives back together again.

This disaster also inflicted enormous damage on the Japan Post Group in its key fields of mail, banking and insurance and on the post office network as a whole. Over 100 post offices/branches in the disaster area were either completely or partially destroyed.

JPB Eurogiro Payment Outflow
There are 233 Japan Post Bank Branches and over 7,000 post offices which are authorised to accept applications from customers for oversea remittance.  These applications are sent to the Tokyo Operations Centre (TOC), which is the sole exchange office for overseas and is the ELS Production site. At TOC, the payment data is input and transmitted as Eurogiro envelopes to Eurogiro partners once a day. Regarding the incoming service at TOC, payment data is received from Eurogiro partners once a day. Payments are then deposited to the payees’ accounts, or money orders are printed and mailed to payees. At branches and post offices money orders can be cashed by the payee.

Difficult situation, however to maintain normal business
After 11th March and during April, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was unable to provide full electric coverage to the Kanto region as a result of the Fukushima nuclear reactor shut down; this included the TOC. TEPCO took the step of imposing partial blackouts to selected areas at set times with serious impact on public transportation We were required to implement emergency measures in the event of possible blackouts, such as shutting down the Eurogiro system (ELS), to avoid malfunctions of the system. We planned precisely for optimal use of ELS, manpower and limited electricity, in accordance with the planned blackout time schedule. Furthermore, the TOC has an in-house power generator for emergency purposes. However, we have to secure sufficient fuel to provide for any prolonged blackouts.

Necessity of saving electricity for the summer
The Japanese government plans to urge all organisations to reduce electricity consumption by 15% for the coming summer when demand for electricity is expected to increase. The JPB is now considering some measures to cut electricity which also will have an impact to the Eurogiro connection.

Thanks to Eurogiro A/S
Eurogiro have been informing member countries of the situation relating to the JPB Eurogiro service. In terms of the IT system, the Eurogiro Servicedesk has had extended focus set up to handle the situation. Any transactions sent to JPB go into “retry” mode and are automatically delivered once JPB is online again. Thanks to this IT setting, sending Eurogiro members have no need for any special actions.

Anticipated effects on JPB Eurogiro payments
Although adverse effects on JPB Eurogiro service may occur, the JPB will do its utmost to try to maintain normal business. Possible adverse effects on the JPB Eurogiro service regarding outgoing payments, due to electricity shortages at the TOC, may result in delays in sending envelopes overseas. In addition, answers to inquiries by overseas Eurogiro partners might take more time than usual. Electricity shortages at the branch/post office may result in delays in mailing applications to the TOC. As for the incoming payments, the electricity shortages at the TOC may result in delays in mailing money orders to payees or depositing to payee’s accounts.

JPB Eurogiro Contingency Plans
In 2010, we set up a Disaster Recovery (DR) site in Yokohama Operation Centre (YOC). Data between TOC and YOC is synchronized each hour.

Two different cases for BCP

The Contingency Plan takes into consideration two different situations:

1) break- down of the Production ELS and

2) disaster at the TOC when neither the Production ELS nor the Test ELS operate.

In the case of 1), we usually switch to Test ELS or repair the ELS Production system and it would be fairly easy to continue business. However, if it will take more than 48 hours to repair the ELS Production system, the second contingency case 2) will be activated.  In this situation, the switching process from the Production system to the DR system would be required. In addition, staff at the TOC that have more expertise in Eurogiro system than those at the in YOC should be dispatched to the DR site.

Make BCP feasible with further improvements
In order to make the Contingency Plan feasible, simulating training should be practiced at least once a year. During the simulating training, we can check how to report to relevant parties and so on. Results could bring some fresh ideas into the Contingency Plan.

Mr Hiromitsu Nishida, Eurogiro general contact within Japan Post Bank

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