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Okinawa rallies in defense of beleaguered ¥2,000 bill

Date Posted: 2008-07-30

The ¥2,000 bill, a paper currency introduced just before the G-8 Summit in Okinawa in 2000, has been through a lot over the past eight years, but still remains ranked the worst of Japan’s currency.
Designed to promote Okinawa with a design showing the island’s image and a picture of Shuri Gate, the ¥2,000 note was expected by then Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to be a highly sought after and popular currency. Presidents and prime ministers of the G-8, as well as delegates from other invited countries, were expected to spread the currency and spend it.
The government each year introduces a new batch of ¥2,000 bills, but they’ve still not really caught on. Last year, 3,380,000 ¥2,000 notes were in circulation, up a bit from earlier years but still being subjected to ridicule and complaint from citizens who say the bill looks too much like the ¥5,000 note, and is too difficult to count.
Okinawa’s launched a special ¥2,000 Paper Money Circulation Promotion Committee to boost the ailing bill’s popularity. Okinawa Prefecture has signed on, agreeing to use the bills, and many businesses are being encouraged to add the ¥2,000 currency to its circulation. The Committee says it’s already obtained commitments from 78,499 people to be ambassadors for the ¥2,000 note, and blanks have pledged to begin using them in payroll.
Tourists visiting Okinawa will soon be getting their hands on the ¥2,000 notes. More than one million tourists projected to visit soon will each be provided the less-than-popular currency. Officials say tourists won’t know the unhappy background of the bills, and will either spend them or take them home as souvenirs.

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