Sales blitz launched to mint coins for 14 other countries

Facilities tout technology to counter forgery

JIJI

The Finance Ministry will start a sales blitz of 14 countries, including Myanmar, hoping to win orders to mint coins for them, ministry officials said.

The ministry hopes to make better use of its coin-producing facilities, some of which have fallen idle due to a decrease in the amount of coins issued domestically.

Thanks to the popularity of vending machines, Japan has cutting-edge coin-minting technology, including ways to prevent forgeries, a senior ministry official said.

Between September and December, the ministry will begin the 14-nation roadshow, where it will collect information about international tenders to pick coin producers and win orders to mint coins.

At present, the Japan Mint, based in the city of Osaka, produces six types of coins. But its production volume has slumped mainly due to the spread of electronic money and other means of payment. The volume fell to 738 million coins last year from the 1974 peak of 5.61 billion.

Sluggish production “not only causes excesses in facilities but also makes it difficult to maintain the technological competence of employees,” a source said. But since many countries do not have their own coin-minting facilities, orders to mint coins among emerging economies, particularly in Asia, are expected to rise.

Aside from Myanmar, the 14 countries targeted include the Asian nations of Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam, as well as the Middle Eastern nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Since the end of World War II, Japan has received coin-minting orders from only two nations.

Japan minted a silver coin for New Zealand in 2007 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their bilateral ties. The other nation, Sri Lanka, contracted with the mint to issue a silver coin in 2012, which also commemorated the 60th anniversary of its bilateral ties with Japan. At present, Bangladesh is looking for a coin maker through an international tender. The Finance Ministry hopes to win that contract.

“We will be able to help build stronger ties of friendship with other countries if we contribute to stability in their currency systems,” said an official at the Finance Ministry’s Treasury Division.

“We would like to strengthen efforts to win contracts by promoting our strong technologies,” the official added.

However, winning international tenders may be a tall order for Japan as competition intensifies from European mints also looking to put excess facilities to use since boosting capacity ahead of the 2002 introduction of euro coins.