These bills come complete with the watermark, but with two tiny flaws.

While much of the world moves towards a cashless society, here in Japan it’s not uncommon for people to carry wads of money with them in their wallets, as cash is still the go-to form of payment for everything, whether it’s grocery shopping or rental deposits.

So when news of counterfeit bills surfaces in Japan, it’s a topic that affects everyone, and the latest report of fake money is one that has people even more concerned, as there’s very little that distinguishes it from a real 10,000-yen (US$90.30) bill.

The forgery first came to light when Twitter user @SonmiChina posted a video online showing the counterfeit bill alongside a real one. The watermark in the centre, which many people usually check to confirm the authenticity of a bill, is clearly present in both examples, which means people need to look more closely when looking out for the fake money.

Sonmi left this message along with the tweet, to highlight the two identifying characteristics of this particular fake currency.

“There’s news about counterfeit Japanese yen circulating within the Chinese community in Japan. This clip shows the forged bill. The fake money is the one on top. The size is slightly smaller than the real thing, and the management numbers are paler than the original.”

In the clip posted online, Sonmi points out the differences, which would otherwise be difficult to see.

It’s important to note that while Sonmi brought this news to light for the Twitter community, he is in no way involved in the forgery of Japanese bills, and although the bill is “circulating within the Chinese community in Japan”, there’s no evidence to suggest that anyone from the Chinese community was involved in the counterfeit process.

People in Japan are thankful to Sonmi for sharing the information, and hope that the bills will be out of circulation soon. For those unfamiliar with Japanese currency, the sections highlighted in red on the bill below, which is authentic, are the management numbers you need to watch out for. Here there are no inconsistencies in the printing of the management numbers, but if you find that they are slightly lighter in colour than the rest of the bill, you might want to check the size of the money and then take it down to the bank for confirmation.

As long as the world keeps printing money, there will always be people trying to get rich quick by making forgeries. Whether it’s a highly sophisticated replica or a toy-money printout created at a convenience store copy machine, it’s always good to be aware of what to look out for to be sure you’re handing over the real thing.

Featured image: © SoraNews24
Insert images: © SoraNews24, Twitter/@SonmiChina

[ Read in Japanese ]