• Kyodo News


Three leading providers of electronic money services said they have asked the government to include their e-money cards on its list of goods and services exchangeable under the Eco-point system.

The three are Aeon Co., which operates the WAON electronic money service, IY Card Service Co. with its nanaco service and bitWallet Inc. and its Edy service.

Under the Eco-point system, consumers receive points for refrigerators, air conditioners and digital terrestrial televisions designated by the government as environmentally friendly. Purchases must be made before the end of next March, and consumers can exchange their accumulated Eco-points for other goods and services.

The government is working out a list of goods and services covered by the scheme and will begin to accept applications from consumers in exchange for Eco-points on July 1. The list is due to be announced Friday.

Major retailer Aeon, IY Card, a unit of leading retailer Seven & I Holdings Co., and bitWallet plan to exchange one Eco-point for ¥1.

Electronic money card operators affiliated with railways, including East Japan Railway Co., which issues Suica cards, have also applied to the government for their cards to be included in the list.

As applications have been made by companies that have issued more than 100 million electronic money cards in total, the Eco-point system would be widely used by consumers if the government approves their requests, analysts said.

The applicants include the Japan Department Stores Association, which plans to offer coupons that can be used in member stores nationwide, while Seven & I has also asked the government to include coupons that can be used at its retail chains, including Seven-Eleven Japan convenience stores and Ito-Yokado supermarkets.

The Eco-point system — financed by the government’s economic stimulus package — is aimed at boosting consumer spending and promoting efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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