Japan is hunting for more such deals, sending missions to Bhutan, Nepal, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, as part of a broader strategy to benefit from economic growth in Asia.
The competition isn’t likely to be easy, as Japan doesn’t have a track record in such tenders, something that counts for much.
There are other hurdles, too, to making low-value, small-denomination coins in Japan. High labor costs is one. The strong yen is another. The yen’s surge last year nearly ruined Japan’s plan to produce the Bangladeshi coin at one point.
But Japan intends to keep trying, partly because it has a large production facility it needs to use, as coin output at Japan Mint dropped to 700 million units in 2011, from 5.6 billion in 1974 as the economy has stagnated.
“We have the technology to edge sharp reliefs on small coins to make them not only more beautiful, but also more resistant to wear and difficult to counterfeit,” Yuji Eguchi, executive director of Japan Mint, told JRT.
Japan sees the Bangladesh deal as a first step toward full-fledged currency production for foreign countries. “We want to produce notes for other countries as well,” an official at the ministry’s treasury division said.