QR code payment tests start in Fukushima Prefecture(福島県で「QRコード決済」実証実験へ)

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Toho Bank President Seishi Kitamura, right, then Mizuho Financial Group President Yasuhiro Sato, center, and Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori shake hands after a press conference in Fukushima Prefecture on March 15.(会見後、握手を交わす(右から)北村頭取、佐藤社長、内堀知事(3月15日))

 Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Toho Bank were set to begin testing a QR code-based smartphone payment system in Fukushima Prefecture in April. The move is in anticipation of moves toward a cashless society.

 みずほフィナンシャルグループ(みずほFG、東京都)と東邦銀行は15日、本県で電子マネーのQRコード決済を活用したキャッシュレス社会の実証実験を始めると発表した。

 The tests also come ahead of J-Coin - a new digital currency that Mizuho Financial Group plans to launch. In the tests, a new payment system will be introduced at some shops at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on a trial basis.
 The company aims to pinpoint and examine any problems that are likely to emerge with the payment system.
 The tests will start this month. Afterward, the company aims to expand use of the system in Tomioka and the entire Hama-dori area.

 みずほFGが創設を進める電子マネー「Jコイン(仮称)」の実現に向け、4月から東京電力福島第1原発内の店舗などに決済の仕組みを試験的に導入し、実用化に向けた課題を洗い出す。準備が整い次第、富岡町内の店舗や浜通り全域に利用拡大を図る計画だ。

 The system features a dedicated smartphone app. Users can charge the app with electronic money by transferring funds from their accounts with Toho Bank or Mizuho Bank, an affiliate of Mizuho Financial Group. Once charged, people can use their smartphones to make payments by reading QR codes at shops.

 実証実験にはスマートフォン向けの専用アプリを使用。みずほFG傘下のみずほ銀行と東邦銀行の口座からアプリに電子マネーをチャージし、店頭のQRコードをスマホで読み取って買い物の支払いを行う。

 The system is likely to be convenient and more efficient, as users can transfer money electronically. The system is also expected to help shops cut costs by lessening the burdens involved with handling cash, the banks said.

 電子マネーの送金などもできるため、利用者の利便性や決済の効率性向上が図られるほか、店舗側も現金取り扱いの負担が減るなどコスト削減につながるという。

 The tests are set to take place at a cafeteria and a convenience store at the nuclear power plant, where more than 6,000 people work.

 実証実験は、6000人を超える作業員が働く福島第1原発の食堂やコンビニでまず導入し、課題などを見極めた上で、富岡町内での普及を目指す。

 The system will initially be for people who have an account at Mizuho Bank, but will be expanded to include Toho Bank account holders in June or July. The test will continue until the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

 当初はみずほ銀に口座を持つ人が対象で、6~7月ごろから東邦銀の口座も対象に加える計画だ。実証実験期間は年末や来年初めごろまでを予定している。

 QR code payment systems have become popular in China and other countries, but Japan's financial industry has just started standardizing its system. Mizuho Financial Group and other financial institutions hope to accelerate standardization of the system through conducting tests.

 実証実験を行うQRコード決済は中国などで普及が進んでいるが、国内の金融業界では統一規格実現に向けた動きが進み始めた段階。QRコード決済を土台としたJコインの創設を目指すみずほFGなどは今回の実証実験を通じ、規格統一の動きの加速化も図りたい考えだ。

 "This project can have great appeal internationally, with the system starting in Fukushima Prefecture. We hope it will be put into practical use before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," then Mizuho Financial Group President Yasuhiro Sato, now chairman, said at a press conference held at the Fukushima prefectural government office.

 県庁で会見したみずほFGの佐藤康博社長は「福島で始めることで、世界的な発信力を持つプロジェクトになる。2020年東京五輪までには実際のサービスにつなげたい」と語った。

 Toho Bank President Seishi Kitamura said, "[This project] is expected to boost the reconstruction and growth of disaster-hit areas."

( Translated by The Japan News )

 東邦銀の北村清士頭取は「被災地の復興、成長を後押しする」と期待を寄せた。

 【 2018年3月16日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】