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How Japan Emerged as a World Leader in Fintech

Japan is both the world’s third largest economy and a global leader in digital technological innovation. As such, Japan has long been an obvious contender to lead a Fintech revolution. In recent years, that revolution has arrived.

In the past, Japan lagged a little behind other huge economies on the Fintech front, mainly due to a conservative attitude towards money matters. This conservative attitude helped build a rock solid economy that relies mainly on manufacturing for stability and offers super low interest rates, so it’s certainly not a bad thing. However, a recent push to make Japan a center of Fintech excellence is pushing the entire industry to exciting new heights.

So, what’s changed?

fintech business
New regulations
Japan’s financial industry regulator helped establish new laws and rules that impact the development of Fintech. These laws cover things like regulating virtual currency exchanges, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies while new banking rules make it easier for businesses to invest in new ventures.

Importantly, the regulations allowed Japanese banks to invest more heavily in non-financial companies. The freedom to buy stakes of up to 100 percent in a financial technology venture such as blockchain gave the entire industry a huge boost. Japan’s three megabanks, Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui, and Mizuho have put huge amounts of investment into companies developing game-changing technologies. Changes to Japan’s Banking Act(1) make it easier for technology companies to offer services using APIs, streamlining payment processes while still protecting customers.

1 ft.com, “Japan banks target fintech start-ups after law change”


Global Financial City: Tokyo
In 2017, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government launched Global Financial City: Tokyo(2). This bold policy laid out exactly what the city needed to do to become a global Fintech leader. A key part of the plan was the Accelerator Program - Camp Tokyo. This program was a call-out to international start-ups to head to Tokyo to build their business. Looking for start-ups showcasing strong business plans and future-proof technologies, the Accelerator Program attracted promising international entrepreneurs and helped launch brands like Pikcio and LaLa World.

2 jlgc.org.uk, “’Global Financial City: Tokyo’ Vision”


fintech business

Nurturing the Fintech industry
Japan has long been a place of innovation. Adopting an enthusiastic and curious approach to technological development helped Japan become the world’s most inventive nation. Adopting a measured, forward-thinking approach to economic development made it the economic powerhouse it is today. Now, Japan is using these strengths to boost the Fintech industry with incredible results. Already, the market size in Japan is expected to reach an estimated $715 million by 2021. That’s more than 15 times its size just three years ago.

More than 100 financial technology companies in Japan are represented by the Fintech Association of Japan (FAJ). Dozens more are part of associations like the Japan Blockchain Association. These associations do not regulate the companies they serve but encourage, develop, and promote their work. Business networking remains the most effective way to grow your business and these associations regularly host incredible events.

Now is the time to take advantage of Tokyo’s position as one of the top 12 Fintech hubs in the world. Explore Japan’s new and thriving landscape and learn all about investment opportunities by hosting an event with JTB Communication Design (JCD) this year.

21st Annual Japan International Banking & Securities System Forum 2020, which is going to be held in Japan in 27th Feb, 2020, covers the latest topics in the Japanese financial and asset management industry, and fintech and digital technology are naturally one of the main points of interest here. G-MAC Financial Conference presents the opportunity for you to deepen your knowledge on the subject and experience for yourself how fintech and digital technology are implemented into Japanese society and business. Do not miss out on this chance and register today to attend! Click here for more information and registration details.

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