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E-money payments top 5tn yen in Japan

Cashless shopping catching on

TOKYO -- Electronic-money purchases at vending machines, convenience stores and elsewhere in Japan topped 5 trillion yen ($44.5 billion) last year, reflecting growing preference for cashless transactions among consumers.

The Bank of Japan on Tuesday released the data on payments made via e-wallet mobile phones and prepaid e-money cards embedded with chips -- such as the Suica card issued by East Japan Railway. The total value crossed the 5 trillion yen mark for the first time since the survey began in 2007. The number of transactions exceeded 5 billion.

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