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Insurance company in Japan

Kanji Conversion Project


The company is one of the biggest insurance companies in Japan and is ranked 12 in Fortune 500.  About 25% of the Japanese families are insured by this company. 

The company migrated its Hitachi mainframe to IBM mainframe but kept the Hitachi representation of the Kanji characters. In a later step, the company decided to convert all the Hitachi Kanji structures in its applications and its data to IBM Kanji structure.

The reasoning behind this decision was to align the Kanji in the applications and the data with IBM standards and solve problems which were caused by using the different character set.

This project followed a previous project conducted by MOST to convert the company's COBOL / Natural / ADABAS applications to COBOL / DB2.


Customer requirements were:

  • 100% preservation of business logic and screens

  • Transparency for end users and ongoing system operations

  • Full validation of impacted data

  • Preservation of performance in both on-line and batch

  • Minimum changes to the existing  Cobol programs

  • Phased approach including co-existence between converted and not yet converted programs.

Project Scope

15,000 COBOL programs (Batch and CICS)

2,000 Jobs

3,000 Sequential files 

800 DB2 tables

Project Methodology and Timeline

The project consisted of 3 phases: 

  • Phase 1 - preparation of the new technological infrastructure, tools customization & migration of 1 small subsystem

  • Phase 2 – conversion of subset of applications

  • Phase 3 – conversion of the remainder of the applications.

  • The project ran from October 2010 to November 2014


MOST Responsibilities (prime contractor):

  • Active participation in all project teams (2 senior people on-site)

  • Systems mapping for migration

  • Scope definition

  • Automatic generation of data conversion and data validation routines

  • Automatic generation of test drivers to test 100% of the data access patterns

  • Vendor testing

Customer satisfaction

All impacted applications went live as planned without any defects. Despite the concern of functional changes and screens changes the business has not been adversely impacted. The customer was highly satisfied.

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