Japanese companies are trying to issue a digital yen
Japanese companies are trying to issue a digital yen

Hiromi Yamaoka, former head of the payment and settlement systems division at the Bank of Japan, said it could take years before Japan releases the digital yen.

More than 30 large Japanese companies in Japan will try to issue a joint private digital currency over the next year to boost digitization in one of the most money-hungry countries, the organizer said.

The move comes on the heels of the Bank of Japan's recently announced test plan to issue the digital yen and confirms that people are increasingly aware of Japan's need to keep pace with the rapid development of global financial technology.

The group consists of major Japanese banks, brokers, telecom companies, utilities, and retailers, and is currently trying to use a common platform to issue digital currencies.

“Japan has many digital platforms, but none of them are big enough to make money,” said Yamaoka, the team leader.

He added, "We do not want to create another platform. We want to create a framework that allows multiple platforms to be compatible with each other."

He said that the possibility of other companies issuing the digital yen could not be ruled out, but private banks would be responsible for the experimental issue of digital currencies.

Japan is one of the most money-hungry countries in the world: cashless payments make up only 20% of total spending, which is well below 45% in the US and 70% in China.

Japanese authorities have been keen to encourage cashless transactions to increase productivity, although progress has been slow due to insufficient digital payments.

In Japan, many digital platforms compete and remain incompatible, while in China, the market is dominated by a large group of platforms.

The three Japanese giants Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group have rolled out their digital payment systems but are lagging behind the efforts of tech companies such as SoftBank's PayPay.

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