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Sales of Japan’s most convenient train ticket/shopping payment cards suspended indefinitely

28 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

When arriving in Japan, ordinarily one of the first things you’d want to do is to get yourself a Suica card. As of Wednesday, though, that’s not an option, as sales of the rechargeable e-money card, issued by East Japan Railway (JR East), have been suspended.

Suica has become an extremely convenient and near-ubiquitous part of daily life in Japan. Originally only used for buying tickets for JR lines, Suica cards can now be used on a variety of train and subway lines operated by other companies as well, and they’re also a way to quickly and easily pay for all sorts of things, from vending machine drinks to Uniqlo T-shirts to restaurant bills.

Suica, and the similar alternative card Pasmo, are especially handy if you’re new to traveling in Japan. Since all you have to do is tap the card on a pad to pay, there’s no need to hold up the line behind you at the ticket machine or cashier as you try to count out coins in a currency you might not be accustomed to using yet.

Suica/Pasmo cards are also handy because they save you the hassle of having to calculate your train fare before you get on the train. Instead of looking up at a map of Tokyo’s massive rail network and trying to find the name of the station you’re headed to (which might be written in Japanese kanji only), you just tap your card as you enter the gates, tap it again when you exit at your destination, and the fare is calculated automatically. They’re also a godsend if you’re traveling with family or friends, since it saves your group the trouble and time of everyone having to stop at the machine and buy tickets before every train/subway ride.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, JR East and Pasmo Co. have simultaneously announced that they are suspending sales of Suica and Pasmo cards as of August 2. The companies had already suspended sales of “unregistered” Suica and Pasmo cards in June, but the extended suspension now includes registered cards (for which the purchaser provides their name, date of birth and phone number).

▼ The Pasmo robot mascot bowing in apology in the suspension’s announcement tweet

Screen-Shot-2023-08-02-at-6.44.46.png

Currently, the only type of physical Suica/Pasmo cards available are those purchased as part of a monthly commuter rail pass. Those cards can also be charged with e-money and used to make purchases, but the break-even point on the cost of the commuter pass is usually around 15 round-trip fares between two stations within a month, making them not a viable choice for most tourists.

Mobile versions of Suica and Pasmo remain available, but may or may not be compatible with overseas phone models and payment methods.

Neither JR East nor Pasmo Co has made any public comments about when physical Suica/Pasmo card sales will resume.

Source: JR EastPasmo Co. via IT Media

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments

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JR reduces the number of cash enabled machines at stations to literally force people to buy these plastic cards and now this happens?

I consciously use JR less as a result of their manipulation

4 ( +15 / -11 )

Meanwhile you can use public transportation in the rest of the world with any debit/credit card that has an IC chip on it.

5 ( +22 / -17 )

@lunatic

"Meanwhile you can use public transportation in the rest of the world with any debit/credit card that has an IC chip on it."

Never been to Japan have you...

6 ( +17 / -11 )

This shortage was caused by Covid-19. I don’t think that they were popular for tourists as you had to pay 500 yen to buy one. Most tourists get the more useful JR rail pass which allows unlimited travel all over Japan for the one cheap price.

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

The last time I left Japan I deliberately left about Y5000 on my Pasmo Card in order to avoid the circumstances mentioned above.

Is that money conveniently going to just DISAPPEAR now ?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

...Continued: Is there any way to check the Balance of a card from OUTSIDE of J-Pan ?

(to make sure it's still showing as valid)

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

That is pretty messed up actually, they better start offering an equivalent substitute if they can't make these things anymore.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The last time I left Japan I deliberately left about Y5000 on my Pasmo Card in order to avoid the circumstances mentioned above.

Is that money conveniently going to just DISAPPEAR now ?

Don’t think so - they are just suspending issuing new cards due to a chip shortage, not ending the entire system. Cards should still work including recharging.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Riddiculous how Iphones are Suica/Pasmo applicable and Androids are not.

This country loves everything murican.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

DX or digital transformation turns out to become digital starvation. No more such cards, MyNumber projects postponed, and so on. Wait and pray when the China or Wagner’s Africa cut the rest of the supply, rare earth and all such. You’ll find yourself back in the deepest dry technology desert.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Mobile versions of Suica and Pasmo remain available, but may or may not be compatible with overseas phone models and payment methods.

This needs to be fixed!

Only overseas iPhones work with any sort of payment, android must be “Osaifu-Keitai.” compatible which often means only Japanese carrier phones.

My phone was purchased in Japan but not from any of the carriers so I cannot install “Osaifu-Keitai.” so no suica or any other payment possible.

Japan need to become universally viable on all platforms especially since only a few countries is iPhone dominant, most countries Android is the most used phone OS.

Only The USA, Canada, UK and Japan with iPhone in Canada, the USA and UK slowly losing market share as the both Canada and the USA is now 58% iPhone and the UK Down to 49% .

The EU is 65% Android and outside Japan in Asia is between 77% and 96% depending on the country.

The Japanese government is pushing for more tourists but let's this crazy situation exist.

No suica card isn't a problem if all phones could install the mobile App.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Tell_me_bout_itToday  05:16 pm JST

Riddiculous how Iphones are Suica/Pasmo applicable and Androids are not.

This country loves everything murican.

Um.... Android is American.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Google owns Android.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

ICOCA cards can still be bought around round here, lol

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

If you are only travelling around Tokyo then I always find the Tokunai Pass a cheap and easy way of using the JR trains. Only Y760 per day last time I visited- I assume this is still an available option?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good old Japan. "Welcome to Japan! So sorry, but we don't sell the cards anymore. Please understand and use cash only, and thank you for buying the recentry increased JR Pass! We appreciate it. JR Is a major nationwide company, well... split into different JR companies. You can use regular cash to go to Osaka and buy an ICOCA card, if you like (bow bow)".

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

This policy is rather short sighted.

Two steps backwards.

After a devasting pandemic, ill conceived. very disappointing.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

May or may not be compatible? Of course they are compatible this ain't the 90's Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sorry devastating...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

All Japanese IC protocols are incompatible with world standards.

Suica, Felica, ICOCA. They use unique bandwidths and protocols.

Meanwhile the rest of the world issues all the debit & credit cards with IC chip that are usable in all supermarkets, ATMs, and transportation all around the globe.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Lunatic, yes payment systems, this my card number system makes me wonder where Japan is leading/heading

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Happy to sell my spares to the highest bidder. Bids start from ¥50 000.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Caution caution caution caution my number attack

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

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