A prominent pro-blockchain politician has been appointed as Japan’s Minister of Science, Technology, and IT, Cointelegraph Japan reported October 2. His appointment comes as part of the fourth reshuffle of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's cabinet.
Takuya Hirai, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and reportedly one of the architects of a law legalizing crypto exchanges in Japan last year, will take up the key role as head of the ministry — charged, among other things, with overseeing official government policy towards financial technologies.
As CT Japan outlined, Hirai has been proactive in promoting blockchain as part of his role as chairperson of the Liberal Democratic Party's IT Strategy Special Committee, as well as chairperson of the Fintech Promotion Parliamentarians’ Federation.
Moreover, Hirai is credited for his role in drafting Japan’s basic cybersecurity law, which was enacted in 2015; at the time, Hirai stated that the LDP “concluded that [the government] will, for now, avoid a move towards legal regulation” of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC).
CT Japan further points to local Japanese media reports that have highlighted Hirai’s positive remarks regarding Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) at the JBA (Japan Blockchain Association) meeting this August; he has also advised the ICO Business Study Group at Tama University's Rule Formation Strategy Institute.
In regards to progress in establishing futures rules “such as the creation of voluntary ICO regulations in the future,” CT Japan writes that “various support and efforts from the government are [to be] expected,” given the appointment of a figure that is well versed in crypto to the head post of the country’s Science, Technology, and IT Ministry.
As previously reported, Hirai’s advisory role at Tama University saw the study group release a wide-ranging list of guidelines for the regulation and full legalization of ICOs in the country, which will reportedly be officially considered by Japan’s Financial Services Agency, and could eventually be passed into law in a few years’ time.
The guidelines included rules for anti-money-laundering (AML), know-your-customer (KYC) measures, tracking project progress, and protecting existing equity and debt holders.