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The New Japanese ‘Currency’ for Tourists: Fingerprints

  • 24
  • 04
  • 2016

As is already known to the world, Japan is a leader in technological advances and innovations. In hopes of reducing crime this summer, the Japanese government plans on testing a new system of payment for foreign tourists, enabling them to use their fingerprints as currency.

The efforts to implement this system are aimed at improving security and efficiency when shopping or checking into hotels. It may even avoid having to show a passport at the time of check in.

The process will involve registering valuable details of visitors, such as fingerprints and credit card information, in airports and other favorable locations. If this method is widely accepted, it will soon be possible to purchase goods and pay for services by only placing two fingers over special devices placed in official establishments throughout the country.

Japan’s main plan is to boost tourism rates as the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games take place in 2020. Although currently the first test phase consists of 300 souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels, and other tourist frequented establishments, it is hoped the system will spread.

Not only will this payment method quicken the buying process, but will also allow the government to mine through valuable purchase data to figure out patterns and spending habits. With 40 million visitors anticipated for 2020, this data is crucial for implementing effective tourism policies.

This system isn’t as new as one could think. It has already been tested in Huis Ten Bosch theme park located in Sasebo. An official of this theme park said, “The system has been well received by customers, including those with children, since it saves them the trouble of taking their wallets out.”


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