The New Wave of Government e-Payment Initiatives
Across Asia there is now a new wave of government initiatives focused on displacing cash and accelerating the adoption of e-payments particularly for low value payments, lower tier merchants and segments currently dominated by cash. While the government organisations driving these initiatives vary across Asian markets, the strategies are broadly similar and usually combine fintech payments approaches, new retail real-time payment systems, increasing acceptance of (contactless) card payments, mobile QR code standardisation, open APIs and national digital identification schemes to achieve these objectives. Japan has combined these objectives in a new national payments body.
Payments Japan is a new payments industry association founded as a result of recommendations made in the “Cashless Vision (2018)” policy document published by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan. Payments Japan is the resulting "Commission for Promotion of Cashless Settlement" tasked by METI to unite all payments stakeholders in the country to collaborate toward realizing a cashless society as early as possible through a variety of activities. The organisation was founded in April 2018 and now has over 280 members including banks, credit card companies, merchants, payment solutions providers, ministries, agencies, individuals and other payments-related associations. One of the objectives of this industry-wide collaboration is to achieve a goal of at least a 40% cashless payment ratio by 2025, increasing eventually to 80%.

Among Payments Japan projects scheduled in the first fiscal year are the standardisation of QR code payments in Japan, developing a Cashless Vision strategy and developing API guidelines for payments in Japan. Maya Suzuki's presentation at Digital Commerce Asia Pacific will provide more information about this important new payments organisation.
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