Home > News > Regional
Friday March 7, 2014 MYT 11:56:00 AM
Friday March 7, 2014 MYT 11:59:39 AM
Bitcoin trader Kolin Burges (C) from London is surrounded by reporters as he protests against Tokyo-based bitcoin changer MtGox in front of the company's office in Tokyo on February 26, 2014.
Tokyo (AFP) - Japan's government said Friday that Bitcoin is not a currency but that it "is natural" that transactions involving the virtual unit should be taxed.
"As a matter of common sense, if there are transactions and subsequent gains, it is natural... for the finance ministry to consider how it can impose taxes," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
His comments, in the wake of the spectacular failure of the Tokyo-based MtGox trading exchange last week, come as the government studies formal regulations for the unit after its reliability was called into question.
Regulators around the world are grappling with how to handle the currency.
US Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen has said the Fed had no powers over a currency that only exists virtually with no central authority behind it. Several countries, including Russia and China, have heavily restricted how Bitcoins can be used.
A Japanese government statement issued Friday said that Bitcoin "does not fall under the category of a currency and is subject to taxation", according to Jiji Press news agency.
Asked whether Japan would become a global leader on regulating Bitcoin, Suga said: "We are now sorting things out under the current law and mulling what the government can do."
The MtGox collapse set off alarm bells over Bitcoin, which backers have promoted as a low-cost alternative to traditional currencies such as the US dollar or Japanese yen.
Bitcoin is generated by complex chains of interactions among a huge network of computers around the planet.
MtGox, which at one time reportedly processed 80 percent of global Bitcoin transactions, last week sought bankruptcy protection and admitted that it lost half a billion dollars worth of the digital currency.
This week, an alleged theft by hackers forced a Canada-based online business serving Bitcoin traders and investors to shut down.
More than half of Chinese see war with Japan
Japan nuclear watchdog backs restart of two reactors
Japan's centenarian population swells
Japan Inc cautious on India despite premiers' love-in
Japanese actress Shirley Yamaguchi dies at 94
Indonesia to ratify haze agreement
North Korea ratchets up 'hostage diplomacy' with US
Typhoon Kalmaegi sweeps out of Philippines
NEA: Expect more hazy conditions
Thousands evacuated as Philippine volcano threatens to erupt
Typhoon Shuts down Hong Kong
Apple gets its way as U.S. court throws out US$368mil patent award
Veteran politicians laud BN’s spirit of consensus
DVF wants to dazzle the world with some bling
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)