April 20, 2016 -
Japan Today has unveiled more information about the country`s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to test cashless payment technology using fingerprints and other biometric markers to make transactions safer and easier for foreign tourists.
Unnamed sources say the ministry is planning to test cashless payment technology this October in busy tourism spots in the Kanto area around Tokyo, the Kansai region centering on Osaka and the island of Kyushu in the country’s southwest. The ministry will then analyze customer data and purchasing patterns in each area by nationality, age group and other demographic features, with the goal of making Japan a more attractive destination and improving tourism services in the country.
Trials of the platform in the Kanto area will include payments using fingerprints at hot spring resorts and restaurants in Kanagawa Prefecture’s tourist sites, including the hot spring town of Hakone and historical coastal town of Kamakura. In the Kansai area, technology using vein scanning will be tested with the cooperation of airport, railway and amusement facility operators in the hope of offering tourists a consistent payment system throughout their visit. In Kyushu, tourists will be able to use prepaid premium coupons at restaurants and shopping centers after registering their personal information.
It is expected that the ministry will release results of the trials in a report around March of 2017.
Named the Omotenashi Platform, after the Japanese term for hospitality, the biometric identification and payment technology platform is being developed by Dai Nippon Printing Co and Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC.
According to the Japan Today report, an unnamed source close to the project said: “If (the technology) boosts understanding of the wide range of tourists’ needs, its use could lead to an improvement in the level of services provided to them.” It is also hoped that initiatives allowing tourists to rely less on cash could help boost visitor numbers ahead of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo.