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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is experimenting with offering reward points to citizens who engage in activities that are in line with U.N. sustainable development goals.

The initiative, slated to run through fiscal 2020, is part of efforts to motivate people to contribute to society as well as to promote cashless payments.

The project rewards people engaging in SDG-friendly activities in the business districts of Otemachi, Marunouchi and Yurakucho in central Tokyo, as well as in neighborhoods along train lines operated by Tokyu Corp. A reward point is equivalent to ¥1, and a total of 50 million points will be given out through the initiative.

In the business districts, people are rewarded 200 points every time they arrive to work on trains earlier or later than peak rush-hour times, to avoid overcrowding.

They also receive 50 points for not using plastic bags at select convenience stores and 400 points for purchasing bento boxes using reusable containers and returning them after eating.

The reward points can be claimed by scanning QR codes located at office entrances or convenience stores. The earned points can be used as currency at cafes and other participating stores inside the districts.

In the neighborhoods around Tokyu train lines, holders of IC-card commuter passes are rewarded between 20 and 100 points for boarding Tokyu trains from stations in Tokyo at certain hours in the morning to alleviate overcrowding. The time slots subject to the rewards are from the first train of the day to before 7 a.m., as well as from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Points are also added to point cards when customers bring their own bags to shop at Tokyu Store outlets in Tokyo.

The metropolitan government will examine whether commuting and plastic bag-consumption behaviors will change as a result of the experiment. The initiative may be fully rolled out across Tokyo based on the results of the test.

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