The ruling party in Japan, the Liberal Democrats, have formed an investigative committee that will look into Bitcoin from a governmental perspective, the party said in a statement.
The committee’s first comments are that Bitcoin transactions should be “subject to taxation,” opening up a possible avenue to establish regulation. The Japanese government also said banks would not have license to broker Bitcoin.
"As a matter of common sense, if there are transactions and subsequent gains, it is natural ... for the finance ministry to consider how it can impose taxes," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday.
All of these are simply first steps for a country that has thus far been pretty mum on the Bitcoin question. But after consecutive media circuses have put Japan right in the middle of the Bitcoin universe, as Quartz put it, the government appears to have been compelled to act.
A recent history of Japan and Bitcoin
In February, things went from bad to worse for Mt. Gox, a cryptocoin exchange based in Japan. The service went offline, the company filed for bankruptcy, and some 850,000 BTC have gone unaccounted for.
The last week, Japan-born Dorian Nakamoto was outed by Newsweek Magazine as possibly being Bitcoin’s creator, though the evidence to support that claim is dubious. That didn’t stop mobs of reporters from swarming the guy’s house, leading to a full-on OJ-style low-speed chase through Southern California.
All of this has put a lot of attention on the Japanese government, which is now scrambling to catch up.
“We are now sorting things out under the current law and mulling what the government can do,” Suga said.
- Japan says Bitcoin not a currency, but taxable
- Japan just realized that it's now the center of the bitcoin universe
- Details of Mt. Gox’s bankruptcy protection filing
- Dorian Nakamoto disputes Newsweek story, says he’s not Satoshi Nakamoto