Japan ruling party lawmakers to float idea of issuing digital currency




  • In Business
  • 2020-01-24 08:27:03Z
  • By Reuters
Japan ruling party lawmakers to float idea of issuing digital currency
Japan ruling party lawmakers to float idea of issuing digital currency  

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) - A group of ruling party lawmakers are working on a proposal for Japan to issue its own digital currency, one of the members said, in a sign of alarm Tokyo is feeling about Facebook's Libra and China's drive to create a digital yuan.

The digital currency could be a joint initiative between the government and private companies that would put Japan in tune with global changes in financial technology, Norihiro Nakayama, parliamentary vice minister for foreign affairs, told Reuters.

"The first step would be to look into the idea of issuing a digital yen," said Nakayama, a key member of the group comprised of about 70 Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers.

"China is moving toward issuing digital yuan, so we'd like to propose measures to counter such attempts," he said on Thursday.

The group, led by party heavyweight and former economy minister Akira Amari, plans to submit its proposal to the government as early as next month, Nakayama said.

While Japan is unlikely to issue digital currencies any time soon due to technical and legal hurdles, the move comes in the wake of a decision by the Bank of Japan to join six other central banks to share expertise on doing so in the future.

In a sign of increased attention on digital currencies in political circles, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament on Friday the government will work with the BOJ in studying digital currencies and find ways to enhance the yen's convenience as a settlement means.

Facebook's push to launch its Libra cryptocurrency has prodded central banks to quicken the pace at which they look at issuing digital currencies.

Of the major central banks, China's has emerged as the frontrunner in the drive to create its own digitized money, though details of its project are still scarce.

Some Japanese lawmakers have voiced concern over Beijing's move as an attempt to expand the yuan's use as a settlement currency in emerging economies.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said earlier this month that it would be a "very serious problem" if digital yuan becomes a popular means for international setttlement, as Japan settles transactions mostly in dollars.

Former BOJ board member Takahide Kiuchi, however, said China and Japan have different reasons to consider issuing digital currencies.

For China, the motivation is to enhance the yuan's clout in the global community; for Japan, it would be to change the country's cash-loving culture, he said.

"The BOJ probably won't want to do anything that would stifle private-sector innovation. The best way could be to issue a hybrid-type digital currency that is operated and issued by private firms, with the central bank's involvement," he said.


(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Leika Kihara, additional reporting by Takahiko Wada and Hiroko Hamada; Editing by Kim Coghill)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Dow plunges 1,000 points on coronavirus fears after worst one-day point drop ever
Dow plunges 1,000 points on coronavirus fears after worst one-day point drop ever

The Dow plunged further Friday, deepening this week's global rout on fears that a deadly virus in China is spreading.

Virus detected in sub-Saharan Africa, global stocks tank
Virus detected in sub-Saharan Africa, global stocks tank

Nigeria reported the first new coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa on Friday, as global stock markets tanked on deepening fears of a pandemic and the World Health Organization warned against the "fatal mistake" of complacency. The virus has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 83,000 worldwide -- the vast majority in China -- since it emerged apparently from an animal market in a central Chinese city in late December. The number of new deaths and infections has been tapering off in China, following unprecedented quarantine efforts locking down tens of millions of people in the worst-hit cities.

Investment advisors worry U.S. response to coronavirus is too little too late
Investment advisors worry U.S. response to coronavirus is too little too late

Investment-advisors are increasingly worried that U.S. authorities are not be doing enough to prevent a widespread outbreak of coronavirus in the country, potentially adding further downside to already-battered markets.

Coronavirus: 700 New York residents who traveled to China under voluntary quarantine
Coronavirus: 700 New York residents who traveled to China under voluntary quarantine

At least 700 travelers who returned to New York from areas affected by coronavirus since Feb. 3 faced voluntary quarantine. Here's what that entails.

Why coronavirus could help save China
Why coronavirus could help save China's endangered species

The novel coronavirus outbreak in China may end up saving one of the world's most trafficked animals after Beijing announced a total ban on the sale and consumption of the pangolin. The scaly mammal -- listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) as threatened with extinction -- is a traditional delicacy across China and much of southeast Asia. Following research linking the critters with the transmission of coronavirus to humans in the outbreak epicentre of Wuhan, Chinese officials on Monday slapped a ban on eating wild animals.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business