INTERVIEW: Minister Vows to Deliver On Points Reward Program

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 30 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government will take steps to deliver on a points reward program that started at the beginning of October if the budget for the initiative is seen running out, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama has said.

The state-led program, which is designed to cushion the impact of the consumption tax hike to 10 pct from 8 pct on Oct. 1, rewards points of up to 5 pct of the value of purchase to shoppers making cashless payments. The government has earmarked some 180 billion yen until the end of March 2020 to finance the program.

In the first two weeks, the daily amount of rebates came to about one billion yen, Kajiyama said in an interview with Jiji Press and other media organizations.

"About 610,000 shops have joined the program, and we are checking the situation every week so that we can take steps flexibly," he said. "While some people say that the budget will dry up, we'll study measures as needed to steadily operate the program," which will continue until the end of June next year.

"Cashless payment is expected to become commonplace in the future," Kajiyama said, noting that he himself uses credit cards, a transport-linked e-money card and quick response, or QR, code-based smartphone payments.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press