Tomoaki Miura


This paper will take a look at electric money and demonstrate that it cannot entirely replace cash in Japan. With the progress of Information Technology (IT), Electronic Commerce (EC, e-commerce) has recently expanded into the society in Japan. However, since Japan is still a developing nation in IT, the government has decided to advance the plan "eJapan" in 2001 that aims to make Japan the leading IT nation in the world within five years with all of the citizens actively using IT (IT Square, 2003). In the plan, the government has largely focused on five projects, which are the construction of the high-speed network infrastructure, the spread of IT training, the realization of an electronic government, the realization of keeping high security and credibility in the Information network, and the development of e-commerce (Fujisawa, 2001). The government has planned to activate the country's economy with the spread of e-commerce. In this context, electric money is in the spotlight as a payment tool of the next generation. Although some ways of settlement such as credit cards are now used, it is projected that electric money will become more popular in the future because of its advantages such as high security or instant settlement in comparison to other ways of payment. Besides, it is also predicted that electric money could replace cash (NTT, 2000). However, the currency of electric money is still in the tentative stage, and the adoption of electric money among the general public is still low. In addition, there are various problems or barriers preventing the prevalence of electric money. For example, all the past tests of popularizing electric money in Japan ended in failure due to the inconvenience of using it. There is a strong custom that the Japanese people mainly use cash for the shopping, whereas checks or credit cards are universal in the Western countries. There are other challenges. People are worried about crimes such as forgery and robbery of electric money in terms of security. The definition of electric money in the law is also very complicated. All of these affect the spread of electric money. There are different opinions about electric money in Japan. One is that cash could be superseded by electric money in the future. The other is that the former opinion is rather wishful thinking, and electric money will only partly prevail as one of the payment ways. At any rate, it is said that people will readily use electric money if it is really convenient and safe to use. Both the public and the government have taken note of the future of electric money. In this connection, it is worthwhile to examine electric money and show its possibilities. First, this paper will briefly explain the basics of electric money such as its origins, varieties and characteristics of electric money. Second, this paper will examine some examples of the past experiments and the current conditions of electric money in terms of usability. Third, this paper will examine the security of electric money. Fourth, this paper will inspect the law for supporting the use of electric money. Fifth, this paper will discuss the culture that affects on the prevalence of electric money. Finally, this paper will draw a conclusion that electric money could not entirely replace cash in Japan, namely it could only be an alternative payment way with collecting these bases.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Electronic funds transfers--Japan; Electronic commerce--Japan

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Information Sciences and Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Information Sciences and Technologies (GCCIS)


Rayno Niemi

Advisor/Committee Member

Timothy Wells

Advisor/Committee Member

Charles Border


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at HG1710 .M59 2004


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