The number of small and midsize businesses registered for a cashless payment program, introduced by the government to reduce the negative effects of a hike in the consumption tax last October, topped 1 million in mid-February. The nine-month program set to run through June appears to have been widely accepted in society, with the number of businesses registered doubling, from around 500,000 at the time of the tax increase, within four and a half months, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said. Along with the tax rate increase, from 8 percent to 10 percent, the government introduced the program to refund up to 5 percent of payments for goods and services purchased from small and midsize businesses, such as retailers and restaurants, if the purchases were made using cashless payment methods such as credit cards and QR codes on smartphones. The refund is made in the form of points that are accumulated and used later for other purchases. The program was aimed at preventing a drop in consumer spending following the tax hike and stimulating consumption to raise the share of cashless payments in Japan, which is lower than other Asian countries such as China and South Korea.
May-7-2020, 09:45:23 GMT