Cash-loving Japanese going digital, even at the shrine
Nikkei -- Dec 19
Even in a Japan that has clung to cash for 80% of payments, innovations like electronic money are making headway, changing both consumer habits and work patterns.

A restaurant in Tokyo's Chuo Ward opened in November as an experiment of sorts takes only e-money and credit cards. Customer traffic has been less than brisk, but that is not the point.

"The aim is to reform how we work," says Akito Nonomura, managing director of restaurant group Royal Holdings, which is overseeing the project.

"Closing out," the task of checking whether the money in the cash register matches the day's receipts, can take nearly 40 minutes because any miscount sends the process back to square one. Eliminating cash as a payment option shortens this to just a few minutes, freeing up workers to do other tasks. Customers are told in advance about the no-cash rule, and so far there have been no problems when the bill arrives, according to Nonomura.

Other places are also going cashless. No more need to toss a coin in the collection box before saying a prayer at the Ohtori Shrine. The Tokyo landmark began accepting credit cards in lieu of cash in November after many visitors asked whether they could use them. And the Atago Shrine, known for its long stone stairway in the capital's Minato Ward, will take donations in e-commerce group Rakuten's Edy e-money for one day on Jan. 4, when many Tokyoites come to pray for good luck at the start of a new year. The Edy terminal has been clad in the wooden box for the occasion.

"It lets visitors give the amount they want even when they're not carrying change," says Masataka Yoshida of Rakuten Card.

International visitors to Japan often report surprise at how many establishments do not take plastic. Such local financial institutions as Seibu Shinkin Bank are looking to change this in partnership with Coiney, a Tokyo-based startup that provides card-processing terminals to restaurants, booth vendors and other small businesses.

News source: Nikkei
Sep 18
The number of women aged 65 years old or higher in Japan has topped 20 million for the first time, according to estimates by the internal affairs ministry released Sunday. (Jiji)
Sep 18
Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force says one of its submarines took part in a drill in the South China Sea. (NHK)
Sep 18
The Japanese city of Sapporo has dropped its bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics following a recent earthquake. (Japan Today)
Sep 18
At 6 p.m. on one weekday in August an enthusiastic audience had almost filled Gion Corner, a theater of some 200 seats at the center of the Gion traditional entertainment district in the city of Kyoto. (Japan Times)
Sep 18
Police on Monday sent papers to prosecutors on a 69-year-old taxi driver on a charge of reckless driving resulting in death after his vehicle hit and killed the 45-year-old driver of a hire car in Tokyo's Roppongi district. (Japan Today)
Sep 18
Overseas hackers are thought to have made off with information on Japan's maritime strategy in a March attack on specific people at national universities, which a Nikkei survey has found to be growing targets for their relatively lax security and sensitive knowledge. (Nikkei)
Sep 17
Mos Food Services Inc. <8153> said Saturday that nearly 30 customers of its Mos Burger hamburger restaurants have shown food poisoning symptoms. (Jiji)
Sep 17
Thousands of people in Yamagata City in northern Japan have been getting an early taste of autumn and setting a world record at the same time. (NHK)
Sep 17
The number of one-yen coins in circulation has fallen sharply in Japan, as consumers increasingly choose cashless payments with electronic money or credit cards. (Jiji)
Sep 17
Kirin Kiki, a veteran Japanese film and television actress known for her unique roles, has died at her home in Tokyo, a source close to her said Sunday. She was 75. (Japan Today)