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Green Push Ending 150-Year Tradition of Bank Passbooks in Japan

A cash card and a passbook for MUFG Bank Ltd.

A cash card and a passbook for MUFG Bank Ltd.

Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. will start charging new customers for a bank passbook, joining other Japanese lenders that are pushing clients to kick the 150-year-old habit for the sake of the environment. 

The country’s largest bank will require new clients to pay 550 yen ($4.83) a year for a passbook, encouraging them to embrace digital services, people familiar with the matter said. The measure will take effect April 1, and is also aimed at cutting expenses. A bank spokesman said the firm is considering a passbook fee for new customers, although no final decision has been made.