In Japan they prefer to pay in cash

Japan is regarded as one of the leading countries when it comes to technical innovations. The Japanese are more traditional when making payments: only about 20 percent of payments in Japan are cashless.

As in Germany, Japan, which has an affinity for technology, has more reservations when it comes to electronic payment systems. There is a strong reluctance among the older Japanese population in particular to pay by mobile phone app or plastic money. Currently, 80 percent of payments in Japan are made in cash. The government wants to ensure that the number of electronic money transactions doubles by 2025.

Most recently, the government tried to make the switch palatable by introducing a system in which people can collect discount points in small shops on the recently increased value-added tax. This is still out of the question for many older Japanese. They are afraid that losing their mobile phones could mean losing savings or they might lose track of their spending.

In Japan, there are also many good reasons for using cash: The crime rate, especially in cash crimes, is relatively low. In addition, there is an extensive network of ATMs – withdrawals are possible virtually everywhere. But commercial banks are gradually beginning to thin out the network of ATMs, making convenient access to cash more problematic. This will make life more difficult for the elderly, who make up almost a third of the Japanese population. The 70-year-old flower seller Mitsuo Kotake, whose predominantly older customers would usually not be able to cope with the payment app, fears the same: “It’s easy for the youths. But seniors just aren’t familiar with it.”

Source:, Tetsushi Kajimoto, Reuters

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