TOKYO – Japan’s digital currency exchanges detected 669 cases of money laundering via cryptocurrencies between April-December 2017, according to a report by the Japanese police released on Thursday.
This is the first time that a crime of this nature has been included in the annual report of the Japan Financial Intelligence Center – the police agency overseeing the country’s anti-laundering efforts – and follows the enactment of a new law authorizing the use of digital currency as a method of payment.
The new regulation also obliges cryptocurrency exchanges to inform the authorities of transactions, suspected to be linked with money laundering.
Such transactions accounted for 0.2 percent of more than 400,000 money-laundering cases registered in 2017.
Japan is the second-largest Bitcoin trading nation based on volume and has 16 cryptocurrency exchanges that are currently licensed by Japan’s Financial Services Agency and another 16 awaiting approval.