Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) revealed this week that they had received more than 7,000 reports of suspected money laundering last year, according to a February 28 article in The Japan Times. All totaled, crypto-related cases represented roughly 1.7 percent of the more than 417,000 money laundering reports received by the police in 2018.
The Times article notes that the increase represents a tenfold rise in crypto-related reports, though the 2017 numbers did not include data from January to March. Overall, money laundering reports of all kinds increased by 17,422 in 2018, with the vast majority of reports involving banks, credit card firms, and other financial entities.
Authorities reported that the 7,096 suspicious cryptocurrency transactions included cases in which ID photos were shared by two or more people with separate names and birth date information. Some transactions were also apparently flagged as suspicious when users “appeared to log into their accounts from overseas even though their listed addresses were in Japan.”
The police are reportedly taking steps to address the issue:
To counter the rising number of suspicious transactions, the NPA plans to train specialists in data analysis as well as test artificial intelligence technology that will be able to detect illegal trades after being taught to recognize patterns related to drug deals and money laundering transactions.