#Asia #Japan 96: Why Japan is Already Becoming the World’s FinTech Leader


FinTech in Japan is far more advanced than most outside observers imagine it to be, and based on new deregulation and government incentives, finTech in Japan is about to accelerate even more.

Today we sit down and talk with Toshio Taki, co-founder of Money Forward, advisor to Japan’s Financial Services Agency, and the head of the FinTech Institute of Japan. He not only tells the story of the founding and growth of MoneyForward — one of Japan’s finTech success stories, but he outlines how the Japanese government’s plans to promote financial innovation while still maintaining the integrity and stability of the industry as a whole.

The Japanese banking regulators are, at least in this sense, far less conservative than you think, and they are setting up a finical ecosystem in Japan that will lead to far more innovative finTech startups than we are seeing coming out of Europe of America.

It’s a great discussion, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Show Notes

How banking and credit card use is different in Japan
Why most Japanese need multiple bank accounts
Why finTech is evolving differently in Japan
Who really controls household finance in Japan
How Money Forward was reluctantly pulled into the B2B market
How Japan’s FSA is promoting finTech and financial innovation in Japan
How the FSA is forcing Japan’s banks to open up to innovation

Links from the Founder

The Money Forward homepage
Japan’s Financial Services Agency
Connect with Toshio on LinkedIn

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Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs.

I’m Tim Romero and thanks for listening.

Okay. For all of you fastidious followers and fanatical fans of all things FinTech, I have a fantastic show for you today. We’re going to sit down and talk with Toshio Taki, co-founder of Money Forward, about how the Japanese government is forcing the banking sector to allow startups to innovate.

Well, perhaps forcing is too strong a word, let’s just say that Japanese banks are being strongly encouraged to work with startups. Now, Toshio studied under Peter Thiel at Stanford before co-founding Money Forward which has become the leading personal finance app in Japan. He’s also an advisor to Japan’s financial services agency and the head of the FinTech Institute of Japan.

After listening to Toshio, you’ll understand why the Japanese banking regulators are far less conservative than you might imagine them to be and why the Japanese financial sector is about to become a whole lot more competitive than what exists in Europe or North America.

Of course, this being Japan, risks must be understood and managed. And Toshio walks us through the Japanese government’s blueprint for fostering financial innovation while still maintaining the integrity and stability of the industry as a whole. This episode is required listening for anyone who wants to understand the future of FinTech in Japan.

And you know, Toshio explains that much better than I can so let’s hear from our sponsor and get right to the interview.


Tim: So I’m sitting here with Toshio Taki, the co-founder of Money Forward and head of the FinTech Association of Japan.

Toshio: Cancelled meeting today and I’m very excited for this podcast.

Tim: I’m glad to have you here because I think FinTech in Japan right now and Money Forward, it’s pretty amazing space to be in. Before we get started on the overall market, let’s explain what Money Forward is. I know it’s online financial management software that you sell to individuals and small business but tell us more about what it actually does.

Toshio: Sure. In brief, Money Forward operates two types of businesses. One for the B2C where probably the most familiar name would be mint.com. We automatically gather information from every single bank in Japan by having people put in their credentials about the internet banking account and th…

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