Nobuko Kobayashi quoted in Nikkei Asian Review
In the Nikkei Asian Review opinion piece, “Reiwa era yen bills -- a speed bump on the road to the cashless future,” EY-Parthenon Partner Nobuko Kobayashi comments on the Japanese government’s launch of a new bank note during a time when many countries are keen switch to a cashless society.
The bank notes, which were created to mark the start of a new Imperial era, will not go into circulation until 2024. Nobuko notes that Japan is already behind China and other countries in making the switch from cash to electronic payments, and the switch to cashless “needs every encouragement.”
“The Japanese attachment to cash is born of safety and convenience,” she acknowledges. “Living in a country with little street crime and limited experience of counterfeiting money, consumers have not had to consider alternatives.”
But with rapidly aging Japanese consumers, the “old habits are dying particularly hard” in the country, and Japan cannot ignore the economic reality – “cash involves a costly supply chain, and as the nation faces a severe labor crunch, the stubborn adherence to cash eats up valuable labor which could be put to more productive use elsewhere,” she explains.