The Japanese government on Friday unveiled a draft growth strategy that promotes cashless payments and diverse workstyles, responding to the needs of the post-coronavirus era.
One pillar of the strategy is to cut long-fixed interbank transfer fees, seen as a bottleneck for businesses to use cashless transactions.
Interbank transfer fees have not changed for four decades in Japan, according to the government. Reduced fees between banks would translate into lower costs for businesses that use cashless settlements.
The government has used a point-based rebate system to encourage consumers to use cashless payments, partly to mitigate the negative impact of a consumption tax hike from 8 percent to 10 percent last October before the coronavirus crisis deepened.
"We will take appropriate steps swiftly," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a meeting of a government panel tasked with drawing up the strategy. After details are worked out, the draft plan is expected to be approved by the Cabinet in mid-July.
To help provide diverse workstyles such as teleworking and working multiple jobs, the government also plans to make it easier for companies to know what their employees do.
Despite more workers showing interest in doing side jobs to earn extra money, companies remain reluctant to give the go-ahead, partly because of difficulty in keeping track of total hours worked by those with multiple jobs, which is required by law.
The draft strategy envisages the creation of a self-report system for people with side jobs and their companies would not be held responsible even if the employees fail to report properly.
Japan also plans to encourage more use of contactless and remote services that have gained renewed attention as it struggles to contain COVID-19, covering a range of fields from education to medical care.
The government will explore the use of low-speed, autonomous delivery vehicles after the country saw increased demand for delivery services due to the coronavirus epidemic, according to the draft strategy.