(Bloomberg) — The Bank of Japan said it aims to start early phase experiments next year on issuing a digital currency in order to be ready should demand for one rise quickly.



a group of people walking on a city street: Pedestrians walk past the Bank of Japan (BOJ) headquarters at dusk in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. The Bank of Japan left its bond-purchase amount unchanged at a regular operation on Monday.


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Pedestrians walk past the Bank of Japan (BOJ) headquarters at dusk in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. The Bank of Japan left its bond-purchase amount unchanged at a regular operation on Monday.

“From the viewpoint of ensuring the stability and efficiency of the overall payment and settlement systems, the bank considers it important to prepare thoroughly to respond to changes in circumstances in an appropriate manner,” the BOJ said in a report released Friday.

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While the BOJ reiterated it has no immediate plans to issue a digital currency, today’s report suggests it is trying to keep up with peers including the People’s Bank of China, which has been studying the topic for years and in April gave the green light for some lenders to conduct internal, hypothetical-use tests of a digital yuan.

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Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso in February expressed concern over China’s ambitions and senior ruling party lawmaker said a digital yuan would be a challenge to the existing global reserve currency system.

Most central banks that have been looking at the issue of digital currencies are treating it with caution because the risks of getting things wrong are significant. Depending on the model of central bank digital currency, authorities risk either cutting out commercial banks, a vital funding source for the real economy, or assuming the direct risks and complications of being in the banking business.

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