The popularity of Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies in Japan should not astound anyone, given the accommodating policies of the authorities.
As per the Japan Virtual and Crypto Assets Exchange Association, a self-regulatory industry association, the number of Bitcoins held in Japanese exchanges was 884,105, as of March (updated in July), while the volume spot trading was 617.3 billion yen or $5.8 billion in the same month.
However, of late, there is a reason for some consternation. Japan’s newly appointed commissioner of the Financial Services Agency, Ryozo Himino, said this month that the country was not taking “special steps to promote cryptocurrencies,” as per Reuters.
“Deregulating bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies may not necessarily promote technical innovation, if doing so simply increases speculative trading,” told Himino to Reuters earlier in August.
The financial regulator has been a proponent of cryptocurrency regulation and pushed that agenda at the G-20 last year. It was the efforts of Himino that lead to an agreement at the G-20 surrounding strict regulation of cryptocurrencies such as Facebook’s Libra.
At the same time, Himino has urged for more debate on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). On the topic of Japan releasing a central bank-issued coin, he said Japan should prepare to launch one, “What it can do now is to be ready so that when Japan decides to issue CBDCs, it can do so straight away.”
The Japanese government confirmed in July that it would assess the need for and work on a digital currency shortly. The country will set up a special committee for that purpose.
The move of Japan is said to rival its neighbour to the west China, which is working on its Digital Yuan project as part of its Five Year Plan, noted Cryptoslate.
Japan’s agenda on issuing its coin is contained in the Honebuto Plan for Economic and Fiscal Revitalization, which forms the bedrock for the country’s economic and fiscal policy.
The country will work with European nations on the plan to iron out issues related to regulations, law, and technology.
As Japan moves forward with its plans on a CBDC, it is becoming clear that the country will continue to tolerate other cryptocurrencies while keeping a sharp eye on the operations of exchanges within the country. There is wide acceptance of Bitcoin at various departmental stores and large electronic chains within Japan, and we should not expect such ground realities to change anytime soon, Digital Yen or not.
Of course, if you want to purchase some Bitcoin for your next trip to the land of the rising sun, you can always do so using Oobit — the easiest, quickest, and safest way to purchase Bitcoin — day or night.
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