Japan’s prime minister has appointed the country’s new Science Minister with a proven pro-blockchain history.
Japan’s latest cabinet appointment Takuya Hirai will also take on the important post of Minister of Technology and IT at a time when Japan is ramping up its focus on all things blockchain across the sectors.
The cryptocurrency community will be looking at this appointment with great interest as Minister Hirai, a member of Japan’s Liberal Democrats, has been a significant political player in the past in determining cryptocurrency legislation. He has also been a promoter of emerging technologies such as blockchain.
Earlier this year Hirai was General Advisor to a government-backed study group which had been asked to lay down further rules for the adoption of ICOs, and to offer proposals to the Financial Services Agency (FSA), Japan’s financial regulator. The minister was also the architect of the 2017 law that legalized cryptocurrencies in the country.
Hirai hasn’t shied away from promoting blockchain in Japan and 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; he continues to advance the interests of blockchain companies. Hirai also drafted Japan’s basic cybersecurity law, which was enacted in 2015.
The Financial Services Agency (FSA) has tightened its registration screening for cryptocurrency exchanges this year. The FSA is cleaning up its act somewhat after recent hackings, notably following the compromise of Tokyo-based Coincheck’s exchange, with losses to the tune of roughly $530 million. The FSA followed this up by a series of onsite inspections recently which revealed that best practice was not being observed by many exchanges.
It’s thought that Hirai’s appointment, as a minister versed with the new technology and digital currency, demonstrates the government’s determination to not only advance blockchain technology in Japan but to also clean up the industry and create workable rules for ICO’s, and also in the monitoring of exchanges by the FSA.
Due to Japan’s vibrant cryptocurrency space, there are currently estimated to be about 160 exchanges hoping to enter the Japanese market.
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