London could help Tokyo embrace finance technology, says Boris Johnson

Mayor of London Boris Johnson wants Japan to take up financial technologies and is keen to increase the number of London-Tokyo fintech partnerships

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced plans for closer finance technology (fintech) collaboration between Tokyo and London.

The mayor – who is on a trade mission to Japan to advance the countries’ partnerships as Japan prepares for the 2020 Olympics – claims London-based fintech companies can help Japan get up to speed with cashless payment technologies.

“Londoners are embracing financial technology – as the use of contactless on the London Underground and mobile payments used throughout the city shows,” he said.

Computer Weekly reported earlier in 2015 that Transport for London (TfL) has become the fastest growing contactless Visa merchant in Europe; and the fastest growing Mastercard and American Express merchant in the UK.  

Research from Mastercard suggests Japan will be one of the countries in the region most ready to embrace advances in cashless payment technology.

However, The Japan Times reports that Japan Post Bank Co – the largest bank in the country – still shuts down its cashpoints at night and weekends. Research from Mastercard shows the Japanese pay with cash in 85% of transactions. 

London continues to benefit from a rapidly expanding fintech sector and, according to research from London & Partners, venture capital investment in the sector has risen from £24m in 2010 to £312m in the first six months of 2015.

In the last five years, Japanese companies have invested £115m in UK technology start-ups. WorldRemit, a London-based money transfer company, announced this week that it plans to make mobile payment services available in Japan later in 2015.

“As our expertise flourishes in this area, I am delighted companies based in London are taking their goods to Japan, and we are now sharing that knowledge and experience with our Japanese counterparts to further fuel this innovation and growth,” said Johnson.  

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has long been pushing to make London the technology capital of the world, and was one of the driving forces behind the launch of Tech City in 2010.  


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