Notice: the information in this post has been superseded by Apple Pay Japan Card Guide
Update 9/22: The TS Cubic Apple Pay announcement was originally released September 20 then deleted. It was released again today. This is an edited repost of the original with new NFC Pay details.
Apple Pay added support for two more Japanese credit cards: JCB J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless. Both are issued under Toyota Finance Corporation’s TS CUBIC Card brand. J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless are marketed as credit card brands specifically tailored for NFC and contactless payments. JCB issued a J/Speedy Apple Pay announcement as well.
The TS CUBIC press statement says the cards use the EMV Contactless standard but are also used “as QUICPay” with Apple Pay in Japan and require iOS 11. Japanese IT journalist Junya Suzuki reported via Twitter that J/Speedy and MasterCard Contactless both use NFC A-B not FeliCa. This appears to be a new iOS 11 Apple Pay feature that allows smart NFC A-B-F switching using the unique Apple Pay Japan device account two number scheme. This flexibility is an improvement over iOS 10 and a step towards contactless payments that ‘just work’ everywhere.
iOS 11 and NFC Switching
This finally solves the mystery of the new Apple Pay Japan page NFC Pay (EMV Contactless) payment system logo that appeared after the iPhone keynote. The marketing angle is that customers can use their Japanese issue credit cards with Apple Pay in Japan with FeliCa QUICPay and iD payment networks and abroad with J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless payment networks. iOS 11 Apple Pay automatically switches NFC modes for the correct payment network. The number of Japanese stores supporting NFC Pay is still very small but expected to grow in time to receive the flood of visitors expected for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Using Apple Pay in Japan requires FeliCa (NFC-F) which is fully supported in iPhone 8, iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3.