Japan Suspends Sales of Popular Suica and Pasmo Transit Cards

Original Publish Date:

East Japan Railway (JR East) and Pasmo Co. have announced the temporary suspension of sales for Suica and Pasmo rechargeable transit cards starting August 2nd. These cards have become ubiquitous for transportation and shopping payments across Japan.

What are Suica and Pasmo Cards?

Suica and Pasmo are prepaid IC cards that can be used on trains, subways, buses and in stores across Japan. They make transportation and shopping extremely convenient by just tapping to pay, without needing cash or calculating fares. Over 30 million cards are in circulation.

Why Were Sales Suspended?

The global semiconductor shortage has impacted production of the cards. JR East and Pasmo Co. suspended sales of non-registered cards in June, and have now extended the suspension to registered cards that require personal details.

What Does This Mean for Travelers?

  • New Suica and Pasmo cards cannot be purchased normally for the foreseeable future.
  • Alternatives like the Welcome Suica and Pasmo Passport tourist cards have restrictions and limited availability.
  • Mobile versions exist but may not work with all foreign phones.
  • Those with existing cards can still use them with no disruptions.
  • Monthly rail passes with Suica/Pasmo cards are still available but costly for tourists.

When Will Sales Resume?

JR East and Pasmo Co. have not provided a timeline for resuming sales. The companies continue to negotiate production plans with manufacturers, but the situation remains unclear.

This suspension will cause inconvenience to foreign tourists and residents who rely on the cards for transportation and payments. Both companies have apologized and asked for public understanding during the shortage.

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