• Kyodo


Three Japanese megabanks and cashless payment providers plan to set up a consortium this month in a bid to streamline and interoperate their services, a project that could evolve into the introduction of the “digital yen” envisaged by the Bank of Japan, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

While a number of cashless payment services such as IC cards issued by railway operators and smartphone applications are widely available in Japan, participants are expected to study measures to boost their services to make them more convenient for customers.

They are also looking into the possibility of facilitating the introduction of the digital yen, for which the BOJ has started feasibility studies with the European Central Bank and other central banks, the sources said.

The consortium will include Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., East Japan Railway Co., the issuer of the Suica IC passenger card that is also used for cashless payment, and mobile phone service operator KDDI Corp.

The BOJ, the Financial Services Agency and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will participate as observers, according to the sources.

The consortium plans to draw up proposals in the autumn and present them to the government and the BOJ, they said.

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