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Gov’t seeks advice on law revision to seize crypto assets

  • June 27, 2022
  • , Jiji Press , 10:45 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, June 27 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa sought advice from a panel Monday on a possible law revision to ensure that crypto assets obtained as proceeds from crime can be seized.

The government referred the planned revision of the organized crime punishment law to the Legislative Council, which advises to the justice minister, as it aims to strengthen measures to fight money laundering.

The current law lacks a clear reference to crypto assets, leaving the possibility that authorities may be unable to seize illegally obtained funds converted by criminal groups into such assets.

The law stipulates that criminal proceeds can be confiscated if they are real estate, movable property or monetary claims.

Bitcoins and other crypto assets are not included in the list as they are electronic data. They are also widely considered different from monetary claims because their issuers cannot be identified.

Prosecutors are calling for new legislation to make sure that illegally obtained crypto assets can be confiscated.

According to the National Police Agency, there have been cases in which offenders transferred crypto assets they acquired through scams to accounts at overseas exchanges that accept anonymous users.

The Legislative Council will consider expanding the range of items subject to confiscation to property in general, in order to include cryptocurrencies and other new forms of assets.

The government also sought the opinion of the council on a possible revision to the Criminal Procedure Code to digitalize criminal proceedings including by introducing electronic warrants and a system allowing lawyers to view and copy evidence files online.

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