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New Crypto Regulations in Japan Could Allow Authorities to Seize Stolen Digital Assets

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Japan's Justice Ministry is considering a proposal to confiscate illegally acquired crypto assets.
  • The ministry will reportedly consult the Legislative Council this month to draw a framework.
  • Last week, Japan had also announced the world's first significant bill on the treatment of stablecoins.
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After passing a landmark bill to regulate stablecoins, Japan might become yet another major economy to revise its laws to seize illegally obtained crypto.

A local Japanese paper noted that the country’s Ministry of Justice is considering a proposal to confiscate illegally acquired crypto assets to put a stop to organized crimes in the virtual domain.

The report remarked that the current law on the punishment of organized crimes does not include the treatment of illegally acquired crypto assets. Which could essentially become a loophole for criminals to get around Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) guidelines.

That said, the ministry will reportedly consult the Legislative Council this month to draw a framework that could allow seizing crypto assets. Which will, in return, treat virtual assets akin to real property, movables, and monetary claims.

Japan emerging as a pro-regulation economy

Just last week, Japan became the first significant economy to pass a bill for investor protection when it comes to risks of stablecoins. On the back of the Terra stablecoin collapse, the Japanese Parliament recognized stablecoins as digital money to provide them legal status.

In addition, Japan’s Financial Services Agency is also expected to soon introduce new regulations for stablecoin issuers.

Therefore, along with tightening crypto rules, the Asian country is also open to business in the sector. For instance, Japan’s Financial Services Agency and Ministry of Finance had warned of heavy penalties on crypto exchanges that tried to circumvent global sanctions imposed on Russia at the start of the war with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, one of Japan’s biggest brokerages, Nomura Holdings, has been offering Bitcoin derivatives in the country. Global crypto exchange FTX has also recently expanded into Japan while estimating the potential market size of almost $1 trillion on the Japanese cryptocurrency trading front.

Back in March, Japan-based Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings (SuMi) had also announced a collaboration with Japanese crypto exchange Bitbank to manage digital assets for its clients, making banks part of the crypto race. Reuters had also noted last year that a consortium of around 70 Japanese firms plan a yen-based cryptocurrency launch this year.

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Shraddha Sharma
Shraddha is an India-based journalist who worked in business and financial news before diving into the crypto space. As an investment enthusiast, she has also has a keen interest in understanding crypto from a personal finance standpoint.
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