Bank notes get makeover to fight counterfeiting
  • Saturday, May 18, 2019
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Bank notes get makeover to fight counterfeiting

TOKYO >> The Japanese government announced last month a redesign for the 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000 yen bank notes, adding new technology to prevent counterfeits.

The new designs will be introduced in 2024, Finance Minister Taro Aso said.

The 10,000 yen bill will feature Eiichi Shibusawa (1840-1931), a banker and business leader dubbed “the father of Japanese capitalism.”

Shibusawa played a key role in modernizing the Japanese economy, Aso said. The back side of the bill will feature an illustration of Tokyo Station.

Featured on the 5,000 yen bill will be Umeko Tsuda (1864-1929), the founder of Tsuda University in Tokyo, who studied in the U.S. and became a pioneer in education for Japanese women in early 20th century.

The back side will feature an illustration of wisteria flowers.

The 1,000 yen bill will feature Shibasaburo Kitasato (1853-1931), a bacteriologist who helped build the foundation for modern medical science in Japan.

The opposite side will feature “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” the famous woodblock print by artist Katsushika Hokusai.

Portraits on the new bills will be rendered as a 3D hologram, which the Finance Ministry said is a world first for currency.

While the changes coincide with the change in era, Aso said the new era was not a main factor.

Japan changes the designs of the three bills about every two decades to prevent counterfeiting.

In 2021, the ministry will also introduce a new 500 yen coin, with the same design but using new materials.

Older bills will remain valid, but the ministry expects that most will be replaced within several years of 2024.

The current 10,000 yen bill features Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901), an intellectual leader of the Meiji Era who founded Keio University in Tokyo. Fukuzawa was also on the 10,000 yen bill introduced in 1984.

Writer Ichiyo Higuchi (1872-1896) is on the current 5,000 yen bill, while medical scientist Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928) is on the 1,000 yen bill.

In 1984, the government decided not to feature politicians or military leaders on bank notes to keep the money politically neutral.

Figures for the main portraits are chosen from cultural figures of the Meiji Era or later.

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