What the Japanese law says about paying for goods and services in coins

By on May 13, 2017

Almost everyone in Japan pays in cash at convenience stores.You might be surprised by how many coins in spare change one can accumulate every single day.

I have a bucketful of stashed one-yen coins collecting dust at home. One day, I decided it was time to get rid of them.

I attempted to pay  concert tickets amounting to ¥14,000 with the coins at a convenience store. That’s 14,000 one-yen coins to be exact. As I began taking the ziploc bag filled with coins out of my back pack, the store clerk and his manager stopped me even before I could say a word. They refused to take my money. They said counting the coins will take so much time, it would inconvenience other customers waiting in line.

One yen coin is money. It’s a legal tender throughout Japan. Were they right to refuse me? The short answer is ‘yes’.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Finance’s website, http://www.mof.go.jp/faq/currency/07ab.htm

Article 46, paragraph 2 of the Bank of Japan law (Nihon Ginko Ho), Article 7 “Currency and Money Issuance Law”

The number of coins you can pay for goods and services should not exceed 20 times the face value of the coin. In other words, paying for goods and services in coins exceeding the limit is not allowed under the law.
However, non-intervention applies if, in a small transaction, a vendor agrees to accept a  number of coins exceeding the limit.

About Ted Tanaka

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