A consortium of Japanese banks plan to introduce a digital currency "J Coin" ready for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as they respond to the threat from China’s Alibaba, which recently launched its mobile-phone payments service in the country.
The J Coin is designed to wean the Japanese off their heavy dependency on cash, which accounts for 70 per cent of all transactions by value. That is higher than any developed country, which have on average reduced cash utilisation to only 30 per cent. “We like cash, because Japan is a very safety-conscious country,” said Mr Sato. “But cash is not so productive so we have to change the structure from cash to electronic money.”