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QuestionHow long is the lifespan of banknotes? What happens to banknotes that can no longer be used?


The average lifespan of 10,000-yen notes is four to five years. That of 5,000-yen and 1,000-yen notes is one to two years, because they are used more frequently and are therefore more easily damaged.

Of the banknotes returned to the Bank after circulation, those that are too damaged or worn and unfit for recirculation are shredded at the Head Office or branches of the Bank.

Shredded banknotes are recycled as toilet paper and other items. The rest are incinerated as general waste at local incineration facilities.