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Ryukyu Bank to do away with inkan print in bankbooks

Date Posted: 2003-10-31

Individuals who want to open a bank account in Japan must have a registered personal seal (inkan) to do so. According to Japanese law, an imprint of the seal is then applied to the first page of the bankbook.

That system is in trouble now, and with the proliferation of computers and scanners, the archaic system has become vulnerable. The crooks simply have to scan the imprint from a stolen bankbook and make a copy of the inkan, and they are ready to empty the account.

Recognizing this, officials at the Bank of the Ryukyus have devised a new system that does not require an inkan imprint on the bankbook. In the new system scheduled to be implemented from January 2004, the imprint of the customer’s inkan is stored in the bank’s computer instead of his or her bankbook. Stealing the bankbook alone will become useless, as the money cannot be withdrawn without the original inkan.

The bank is currently preparing the new system and conducting an information campaign to its customers. “We have had many instances where people have lost their money when the thieves have managed to make a copy of their inkan with computer. We believe that the new system will alleviate the problem significantly,” an official at the bank said.

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