Japan: Major Private Banks and Firms Set to Test Digital Yen in 2021

Japan is finally moving ahead with its digital yen experiment.

Japan Inc. Marches Ahead with Digital Yen Experiment

According to a Reuters report published on November 19, over 30 major Japanese companies are set to kick-off experiments next year toward issuing a common, private digital currency to give way to digitization in the country.

This development comes shortly after the Bank of Japan’s recently announced plan that seeks to experiment with issuing a digital yen.

As previously reported by BTCManager, Takeshi Kimura, departmental-director general of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) told local Japanese news outlet the Asahi Shimbun that the issuance and development of the digital yen is a “chief concern” for the central bank.

Per sources close to the matter, the group, comprising of several major Japanese companies, including Japan’s three biggest banks as well as brokerages, telecommunication firms, utilities and retailers, are mulling conducting an experiment to issue a digital currency that will utilize a common settlement platform.

Hiromi Yamaoka, a former BOJ executive who chairs the group, told an online briefing:

“Japan has many digital platforms, none of which are big enough to beat cash payments.”


“We don’t want to create another silo-type platform. What we want to do is to create a framework that can make various platforms mutually compatible.”

Focus on Promoting Cashless Transactions

Notably, private Japanese banks will be in charge of issuing the digital currency in the experiments. However, at the same time, the possibility of other entities issuing the digital currency cannot be completely ruled out, Yamaoka added.

It is worthy of note that Japan is one of the most cash-heavy countries in the world. According to the report, cashless payments make up only 20% of total settlement in the country, compared to the U.S. and China at 45% and 70%, respectively.

Speaking of China, the digital yuan experiment has been moving forward in full force.

As previously reported by BTCManager, China’s central bank had cleared the air stating the trial of its developing central bank digital currency (CBDC) was currently limited to retail transactions, putting to rest the claims stating that the digital yuan was used for large transactions.

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