Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Japan

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

Japan is a regional financial center but not an offshore financial center. The country continues to face substantial risk of money laundering by organized crime, including Japan’s organized crime groups, Mexican drug trafficking organizations, and other domestic and international criminal elements. The major sources of laundered funds include drug trafficking, fraud, loan sharking (illegal money lending), remittance frauds, the black market economy, prostitution, and illicit gambling. Bulk cash smuggling also is of concern.

In the past several years, there has been an increase in financial crimes by citizens of West African countries, such as Nigeria and Ghana, who reside in Japan. There is not a significant black market for smuggled goods, and the use of alternative remittance systems is believed to be limited.

Japan has one free trade zone, the Okinawa Special Free Trade Zone, established in Naha to promote industry and trade in Okinawa. The zone is regulated by the Department of Okinawa Affairs in the Cabinet Office. Japan also has two free ports, Nagasaki and Niigata. Customs authorities allow the bonding of warehousing and processing facilities adjacent to these ports on a case-by-case basis

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: //

Do FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONs engage in currency transactions related to international narcotics trafficking that include significant amounts of US currency; currency derived from illegal sales in the U.S.; or illegal drug sales that otherwise significantly affect the U.S.: NO

criminalizATION OF money laundering:

“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: All serious crimes

Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES

Know-your-customer (KYC) rules:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES

KYC covered entities: Banks; credit, agricultural and fishery cooperatives; insurance companies; securities firms; real estate agents and professionals; precious metals and stones dealers; antique dealers; postal service providers; lawyers; judicial scriveners; certified administrative procedures specialists; certified public accountants; certified public tax accountants; and trust companies


Number of STRs received and time frame: 349,361 in 2013

Number of CTRs received and time frame: Not applicable

STR covered entities: Banks; credit, agricultural and fishery cooperatives; insurance companies; securities firms; trust companies; real estate agents and professionals; precious metals and stones dealers

money laundering criminal Prosecutions/convictions:

Prosecutions: 142 in 2013

Convictions: Not available

Records exchange mechanism:

With U.S.: MLAT: YES Other mechanism: YES

With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

Japan is a member of the FATF and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation report can be found at:

Enforcement and implementation issues and comments:

Japan’s compliance with international standards specific to financial institutions was notably deficient until recently. On November 20, 2014, the Government of Japan enacted three pieces of AML/CFT legislation that address recognized deficiencies. The recent legislation criminalizes the provision of direct or indirect financing, including the provision of any goods and real estate, to terrorists; and it enables the freezing of terrorist assets without delay, including non-financial holdings. In addition, financial and non-financial sectors will be required to implement processes and procedures to perform enhanced customer due diligence.

Japan’s number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions for money laundering in relation to the number of drug and other predicate offenses is low. These numbers are the most telling measures of effectiveness of a country’s AML/CFT regime. The National Police Agency (NPA) provides limited cooperation to other domestic agencies, and most foreign governments, on nearly all criminal, terrorism, or counter-intelligence related matters.

Japan should develop a robust program to investigate and prosecute money laundering offenses, and require enhanced cooperation by the NPA with its counterparts in Japan and foreign jurisdictions. The government should release the number of money laundering convictions. Japan also should provide more training and investigatory resources for AML/CFT law enforcement authorities. As Japan is a major trading power, the government should take steps to identify and combat trade-based money laundering. Japan should ratify the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption.