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Japan Travel Guide

Cost, Money & Banks: Money and information

The yen (en) was based as the official currency in 1871. The nomination en was utilized because it means round, as a difference to the oblong shape of previous coinage. One hundredth of a yen is known as sen, although this unit is so small that it is only mentioned today in the financial markets. The Bank of Japan was based in 1882; it emitted its first bank notes in 1885. Several times during its history, the yen has been associated to the silver standard, the gold standard and the US dollar. During 1949 to 1971 the rate was 360 yen to the dollar, which was then changed to 308 yen to the dollar. This rate was keeping for two years but problems with US trade troubles led to the devaluation of the dollar against gold.

In the year 1973, the yen, along with other main currencies, moved to a floating exchange rate system. From of 1980's to 90's, the yen became progressively used in international financial transactions and maintained a steady climb against the dollar. It reached a peak rate of around 80 yen to the dollar in 1994, fell to around 108 yen in 1999 and has fluctuated around the 110-120 yen level for the last few years.

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