The Finance Ministry, Financial Services Agency and Bank of Japan have met to promote research on digital currencies for possible issue by central banks, it has been learned.
Issues related to such potential currencies are expected to be on the agenda for a meeting in Saudi Arabia of finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies on Saturday and Sunday. China is preparing to issue a digital currency.
Japan’s financial and monetary authorities are ready to step up cooperation over digital currencies in light of rapid advances in financial and information technologies.
The Finance Ministry, FSA and BOJ have held several meetings to discuss the economic impacts of digital currencies and to advance research and analysis on the technological aspects, sources said.
They said the most recent meeting took place last month, bringing together Yoshiki Takeuchi, vice minister of finance for international affairs; Ryozo Himino, FSA vice minister for international affairs; and Shinichi Uchida, BOJ executive director for international affairs.
The three are believed to have discussed how digital currencies might impact the global currency system, which is centered on the dollar, as well as other issues.
Last month, the BOJ, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the central banks of Canada, Sweden and Switzerland, and the Bank for International Settlements announced plans to carry out a joint study on digital currencies.
While digital currencies are expected to help lower costs related to cross-border financial transactions, such as remittances and settlements, there are concerns they may create opportunities for money laundering and other financial crimes.
The BOJ has not begun a concrete study on issues related to creating digital currencies, but BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda has said Japan plans to be ready.
“We are advancing research and study from the technical and legal perspectives so that we will be able to move in an appropriate way when there is a growing need.”
Last summer, the government and the BOJ set up a liaison council on Libra, the cryptocurrency planned by U.S. social media giant Facebook.
They now see a need to advance research on central bank-issued digital currencies in view of related developments abroad, the sources said.