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 Japanese organized crime groups (the Yakuza), Mexican drug trafficking organizations, and other domestic and international criminal elements. 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. 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. 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; accountants; certified public tax accountants; and trust companies


Number of STRs received and time frame: 377,513 in 2014

Number of CTRs received and time frame: 1,001 in 2014

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: Not available

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:

On November 20, 2014, the Government of Japan enacted three pieces of AML/CFT legislation to address recognized deficiencies in its compliance regime. The legislation – two bills that amend Japan’s Terrorism Financing Act and its Law on the Prevention of the Transfer of Criminal Proceeds, and one that establishes a new Law to Freeze Terrorist Assets – criminalize the provision of direct or indirect financing, including the provision of any goods and real estate, to terrorists; enable the freezing of terrorist assets without delay, including non-financial holdings; and require financial and non-financial sectors to implement processes and procedures to perform enhanced customer due diligence. The amendment to the Terrorism Financing Act entered into force in December 2014. Japan promulgated Cabinet orders and Ministerial ordinances pertaining to the remaining legislation during 2015; the Law to Freeze Terrorist Assets came into effect on October 5, 2015 and the amendment to the Law on the Prevention of the Transfer of Criminal Proceeds will become effective on October 1, 2016. The passage of this legislation greatly improved Japan's AML/CFT regime, which had previously been notably deficient.

Japan’s numbers of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions for money laundering are not available; in relation to the number of drug and other predicate offenses, they are typically low. These numbers are some of the most telling measures of effectiveness of a country’s AML/CFT regime. The NPA provides limited cooperation to other domestic agencies, and most foreign governments, on nearly all criminal, terrorism, or counter-intelligence related matters. The number of currency transaction reports (CTRs) filed is very low in comparison to the number of suspicious transaction reports (STRs).

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.