The Nikkei Shimbun reported on December 2 that the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy conducted a survey for the purpose of ascertaining social reception of advanced technologies, with only 33% of participants answering that they were receptive to cryptocurrency, the lowest percentage compared to other forms of cutting-edge technology.
The survey was conducted from August to September via the internet with a sample size of 3,000 people aged 15-69. In the survey results, “robots that assist you with your work tasks” was the most widely receptive technology at 82%, with “delivery by drone,” “nursing care robots,” and “5G mobile phones” following at around 80%. “Completely autonomous driving using AI” and “surgery by robots” hovered at around 50%.
Other answers that fell below 40% aside from cryptocurrency were “cloned agricultural products” and “genetically modified food products,” indicating a cautious attitude toward adopting these new technologies.
In line with the consumption tax rising from 8% to 10% in Japan in October 2019, medium and small business operators are introducing loyalty point systems that return a percentage of the purchase as loyalty points when customers pay by credit card or digital payment using their smartphone over the next nine months. Considering that many consumers in Japan still pay with cash, these measures are being taken from the perspective of improving convenience and enhancing productivity through cashless payments. Thus it can be said that Japanese consumers are now becoming more familiar with cashless payment under these measures. Even so, cashless payments and cryptocurrency present different hurdles for customers.
Sixteen cryptocurrency exchange operators have registered with the Financial Services Agency and are offering services related to cryptocurrency trading in Japan. Although there are many business operators and the number of users of these services continues to increase, issues remain in terms of whether consumers have a proper understanding of the nature of cryptocurrency as assets and the correct way to handle such assets. Even among users who trade in cryptocurrency, it is expected that there will be a number of people who do not grasp how to actually use their assets or simply leave them deposited within the cryptocurrency exchange.
For cryptocurrency market trends in Japan, it appears that a primary focus going forward will be how policies that push cashless payments will factor in cryptocurrency, along with the activities led by each cryptocurrency-related business to normalize these digital assets.
*This article was written by FISCO.