Local Currency issued on Smartcards by Japanese Town
Kanagawa City’s Project mixes LOVE and Money.
This headline was published by the world’s largest daily newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun on Jan. 22nd 2002 in Tokyo. The full text says: “The city of Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, will start experimental use of a local electronic currency in February, using plastic cards with integrated circuit (IC) chips. It will be the first electronic local currency system in Japan."
According to city officials, the first batch of IC cards will be given to 73,000 residents who have volunteered to participate in the project. Beginning in April, all other residents who apply will be given cards.Cards will be issued with a value of 10,000 monetary units called LOVE that can be used like discount coupons at local stores. Cardholders can increase their LOVE points through volunteer social welfare activities, garage sales or collection of recycled items, the officials said. Participants will apply for volunteer activities posted on the city government’s Web site and, after completing the work, insert their cards into readers connected to the city government’s computer.
LOVE points equivalent to the
assigned value of the work will be transferred from volunteer organizations to
the cards via the host computer, the officials said.
The city expects the project to encourage communications among residents, promote volunteer activities and stimulate the local economy, they added.
“We would like to expand this service to include home shopping,” Mayor Kimiyasu Tsuchiya said.
In the context of globalisation,
Yamato demonstrates that
the chronic and systemic shortage of money can be compensated:
The Forum for Stable Currencies has been a place for debating the problems with interest-bearing debt currencies since 1998. Solutions have been presented along the principles of LETS (Local Exchange Trade System) and commercial Barter companies. Furthermore, victims of institutionalised white collar crime have had opportunities to voice their grievances. It is hoped that future debates will result in progressive developments along the lines indicated by a Japanese city.