|Business & Economy||Science & Technology||Education & Society||Sports & Fashion||Arts & Entertainment|
|Top Picks||Back Numbers||Search|
New 500-Yen Coin Could End Vending-Machine Headache
November 6, 2000
An Uncanny Resemblance
The main feature of the new coin is a change in its material composition, which now consists of 72% copper (formerly 75%), 8% nickel (25%), and 20% zinc (0%). Though the diameter and thickness are unchanged and the weight is almost identical, its conductivity differs from both the old coin and the foreign coin. Therefore, setting the vending machines to accept only the new coin makes it possible to filter out the "counterfeit" variety.
In addition, a number of innovations have been introduced to thwart would-be counterfeiters. Inside the large, vertically elongated zeros of the figure "500" on one side of new coin are smaller, "latent" characters for 500 yen, which are visible when viewed from below. And the outside edge has a "helical milled" slanted-line pattern.
Will It Catch On?
Beginning around October, vending machines for beverages, cigarettes, train tickets, and other items should begin accepting the new coin. Counterfeits are unlikely to crop up again, since a fake coin would have to have the same shape and material composition (conductivity) as the new coin and be much lower in value.
To be on the safe side, though, vending-machine makers have developed a mechanism that causes the same coin that was put into a machine to be returned--instead of a new coin--when the change lever is pushed, making it more difficult for swindlers to walk away with a large haul.
The last time a new coin was issued in Japan to foil counterfeiting was in 1897, when a hole was added to the center of the 5-sen (1 sen = 1 hundredth of 1 yen) coin.
Copyright (c) 2000 Japan Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.