Cash Reliance Continues

By 29th March 2008 June 28th, 2014 Travel Tips

NOTE: An ATM has arrived in Niseko since this article was written. The ATM is located in the Yama Shizen building.

NOTE: An ATM has arrived in Niseko since this article was written. The ATM is located in the Yama Shizen building.

Many visitors to Niseko can’t understand why, in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, there is no ATM in the main tourist precinct Hirafu. Well, the underlying reason is the Japanese don’t like the banking system and would prefer to stash their savings (often under their futons!) and carry wads of notes around with them rather than hand it over to the bank. It’s the consummate cash society.

An amazing story came out this month illustrating the scenario. Police found 50 cardboard boxes of cash stored in the Osaka home of two sisters who were under investigation for tax fraud. They had apparently siphoned off the cash in small amounts from a larger sum they inherited from their father, a real estate tycoon, on his death in 2005. Apparently, the women were spooked when one of the banks that held their money went bankrupt a few years back.

So while the nation’s love affair with cash continues, the question on everyone’s lips is when will Hirafu finally get an ATM? There is talk in Council that it may be in time for next winter but with no firm confirmation. The main hope at this stage is that the competitive 7 Eleven chain will move in to stake its claim on Hirafu – every 7 Eleven franchise now has an international ATM standard. Private ATMs are known for being very profitable in other countries and the company that implemented them at 7 Eleven Japan floated on the stock market last year. It’s interesting a private company hasn’t been successful in setting up an ATM in a place where its success would be guaranteed.

 

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