Japan’s Minister of Finance and deputy prime minister Taro Aso has urged reporters to stop using the term virtual currencies and switch to the newly-proposed legal name crypto assets.
Aso — who also serves as the country’s Minister of State for Financial Services — made his remarks during a crypto-focused question and answer session at a press conference following a government cabinet meeting. The full transcript of the Q&A from March 26 was published by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) on April 26, alongside a provisional English translation.
As Cointelegraph Japan reports today, the minister’s insistence on the use of the new term comes following the Japanese cabinet’s approval of draft amendments to Japan’s financial instruments and payment services laws, which in March established a legal name change for cryptocurrencies as “crypto assets,” formerly designated in the country as “virtual currencies.”
As Cointelegraph Japan notes, the FSA has nonetheless stressed that the new definition is a legal name change only, and that there is no enforcement for the mandatory use of the term by industry participants.
Aso’s Q&A also covered the latest developments in the FSA’s review process and official registration of new crypto asset broker-dealers and exchanges, which have been revised in light of the watchdog’s on-site inspections of industry firms.
As minister Aso stressed during the Q&A, the FSA has taken a strong cue from high-profile crypto exchange hacks in Japan, and thus toughened its monitoring of the sector. He stated:
“While I think blockchain is a promising technology, it will take quite some time before it is firmly established. A variety of people will become involved with it, not all of them well-intentioned, so some could misuse this technology. To protect investors, it is essential for us to conduct a proper and strict review.”
Aso noted that two new crypto asset broker-dealers had been registered this week by the FSA, Rakuten Wallet and Decurret — the latter of which counts a former administrative vice minister at Japan’s Finance Ministry as one of its directors.
As Cointelegraph has previously reported, the FSA’s proposal for a redefinition of virtual currencies as crypto assets was presented as a move that could help ensure that “traders will no longer purchase them believing that they are legal tender recognized by the government.”
Alongside the redefinition, the recent amendments to Japan’s financial instruments and payment services laws included limiting leverage in crypto margin trading at two to four times the initial deposit, among other new rules. The changes are set to come into force in April 2020.