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Japan ruling party lawmakers to propose digital yen in February: Report

Fri, 24 Jan 2020, 11:36 am UTC

In the wake of digital currency initiatives from central banks and even corporates, a group of lawmakers of the Japanese ruling party intend to propose the government to consider issuing its own digital currency, Reuters reported.

Norihiro Nakayama, parliamentary vice minister for foreign affairs, told the news outlet that this digital currency could be developed in collaboration with private companies. The initiative is intended to position the country on par with the latest developments in the area of financial technology (fintech).

Nakayama is a key member of the group which is comprised of around 70 Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers. The group is being led by former economy minister Akira Amari.

“The first step would be to look into the idea of issuing a digital yen,” Nakayama said. “China is moving toward issuing digital yuan, so we’d like to propose measures to counter such attempts.”

The group plans to submit its proposal to the government as early as next month, he added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the parliament today that the government will work with the central bank to study digital currencies and explore ways to improve the yen’s convenience as a means of settlement.

Just recently, the Bank of Japan (BoJ), the country’s central bank, joined five other central banks and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to look into potential cases for central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Last month, BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda had also revealed that the central bank has been conducting technical and legal research on CBDCs in order to “stand ready when the need for CBDC may arise in the future.” He, however, had said that there was no demand for CBDC at the moment from the public.

“In Japan, the amount of cash outstanding is still increasing, and it does not seem that there is a demand for CBDC from the public at present,” Kuroda had said. “The Bank also needs to study the impact of CBDCs on financial intermediation.”

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