Boris Johnson Demos Touchless Tech to Touchless Tech Nation

By Gary Cutlack on at

That man who is a professional foot-putter-inner has put his foot in it again, this time managing to embarrass the entire nation of Japan -- and himself -- by telling them all about how innovative London's contactless transport system is to promote "London's fintech wizardry."

Of course, Japan has led the way in contactless money management for years, hence it looking a little odd when Boris told a tech crowd in Japan that: "I can get on the tube, I can get on a bus and just wave it in the general direction of the cashless receiver and, completely painlessly, very small amounts are deducted from my bank account," as he clearly didn't know that Japan's been doing this for, literally, decades, and it wasn't invented by a man in an office in Transport for London.

The Japan Times, for example, pointed out in 2014 how bizarre it seemed to the Japanese that Apple made such a big deal about supposedly innovating in the contactless field, when local operators there have been letting people pay with pre-loaded mobile phones since 2004, back when most of the world was still struggling with farthings and bartering particularly nice seashells shells for virgin daughters.

Anyway, Boris is now playing rugby with the Japanese PM, so international relations don't appear to have been irreparably damaged by his technological mental blind spot. [Telegraph]