The cryptocurrency market in Japan has seem many ups and downs since the rise of Bitcoin and its various Altcoin offshoots over the last decade.

There was a time when Japan was regarded as an up-and-coming leader in cryptocurrency legislation. In 2017, Japan declared Bitcoin legal tender. Japanese banks began to openly consider the use of blockchain technology for their own services. Shops and restaurants across the country began accepting crypto, while Bitcoin ATMs and exchange platforms appeared one after the other.

But over time, the situation began to change. In 2018, the Financial Services Agency began to pressure exchanges to drop support for privacy coins like Monero and ZCash. This escalated into a full ban in July of that year, which coincidentally aligned with the launching of PayPay, a centralized and corporate controlled cashless payment system. Bitcoin ATMs began to slowly disappear around the same time, and businesses accepting crypto began to wane as well. In 2019, the National Police Agency spent nearly 3 billion yen on internet surveillance tools, including software to monitor popular cryptocurrency blockchains and their transactions.

What started as a decentralized technology enabling peer-to-peer finance between individuals has instead become a sterile corporatized market, surveilled and restricted by the very institutions it was made to circumvent. Japanese users who wish to purchase privacy coins could still register with overseas exchanges. But considering the willingness of Japanese ISPs to cooperate with government requests for Site Blocking, they could very easily restrict access to foreign exchanges in the near future. Even if they didn’t, all transactions originating from Japan would be subject to Police surveillance. And the case of Coinhive and Moro-san has shown that the Japanese Police are willing to crack down harshly on anybody who even dabbles in privacy coins.

And all of this strikes us as a terrible waste of potential. Which is why we feel it’s necessary to tip the balance of power, however slightly, back towards the individual.

On November 24th, 2020, v1.5.0 of “Bisq” was released. Bisq is a decentralized, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange allowing individuals to freely trade cryptocurrency without the need for permission from any centralized entity. By routing all traffic through the Tor network, it provides a layer of privacy and anonymity for traders, while an automated escrow and robust arbitration system discourages fraud.

More importantly, v1.5.0 is the first version of the Bisq client to be fully localized into Japanese. And because Bisq allows permissionless trades between individuals, it allows Japanese users to trade in privacy-respecting cryptocurrency while shielding themselves from the brunt of the Police’s surveillance powers. While Bisq alone is not enough to guarantee total privacy or anonymity, it is another useful tool in the toolbelt for the privacy-conscious Japanese citizen.

A peer-to-peer currency is meaningless if it’s bottlenecked through a centralized marketplace. We encourage all Japanese cryptocurrency traders to use Bisq, and free themselves from the arbitrary limitations of corporate exchanges.

アノニマス:文化庁著作権課へ、コメントの求めに応えて、「OnionShare v2.2」

In early October, the Copyright Division of the Agency for Cultural Affairs put out a request for public comment to let the public give them feedback about their hard work to protect the content industries of Japan.


This hard work includes:
-proposals that would violate Article 21 the Japanese constitution
-proposals that would make sharing link URLs a criminal act
-proposals that would make taking screenshots a criminal act
-proposals that would make copy-pasting the content of news articles a criminal act
…and so on. We’d like to thank the Agency for their hard work. Great job.

…などなど。 文化庁の良い大人の皆さん、かねてより上記の「苦労」に関しては、まっ・・ことにご苦労様です!よくできました!!(笑)

Since the Agency for Cultural Affairs has been kind enough to ask the public for our views, we have no choice but to respond with our honest opinion. Our comments and criticisms can be broadly divided into six areas: strictness, public domain and fair use, unfairness, antiquated laws, legal issues, and issues with the government’s basic stance.

さてさて、ちょうど文化庁著作権課がご親切にもパブリックコメントを募集していましたので、これを機に我々も率直な意見を述べる以外、もはや選択肢がございませんっ!・・・というわけで、今回我々が提示する論題は次の6ヶ条となります。すなわち、1:厳格過ぎる法適用 2:パブリックドメインと公正使用(フェアユース)3:不公平 4:時代遅れの法律 5:法的問題 そして6:政府の基本スタンスとの問題です。

-Currently News content can be taken down due to copyright violation, but can’t news reporting be made an exception?
-A link itself is not a copyrighted work, and “Leech Sites” do not actually host any copyrighted content.
-The act of posting copyrighted content is not always necessarily an infringement of that content.-Since the infringing act of posting copyrighted content ends once the material has been uploaded, linking to that content after the fact cannot be considered a crime in itself.
-If a balance isn’t maintained between the public good and the private profit of corporations, this law will be seen as unfair by the Japanese people and lead to a weakening of respect for the law in general.


2:Public Domain and Fair Use
-Can news reporting be considered an exception? Can images, audio, and text from news not be made part of the public domain?
-We would like parody provisions like those in France to be included.
-Before expanding copyright protections, we would like you to think about the length of copyright terms and the lack of Fair Use provisions in Japan.


-Won’t allegations of infringement by large corporations, government agencies, or religious groups be used as a tool to suppress the speech of citizens?
-It seems as though these copyright laws are written not from the point of view of the citizen, but rather excessively back the position of large corporations, governments, religious groups, and rights management agencies.
-There seem to be many criticisms of site blocking, access restriction, and Leech Site countermeasures by well-informed people.


4:Antiquated Laws
-Because the spirit of copyright law was written in a time before the Net, they need to be reconsidered and amended to be in line with the reality of the present day.
-Hyperlinks form the basis of the internet, and this may negatively effect the free exchange of information and freedom of the internet.


5:Legal Issues
-While a Request for Injunction against alleged infringers exists under Patent Law, rules regarding such for indirect infringement do not exist in Copyright Law.
-Based on the precedent of alleged infringers ignoring Requests for Injunction, similar Requests to Leech Sites will be difficult to enforce under present circumstances.
-The Leech Site countermeasures shown in the current Draft Proposal to Revise the Copyright Act for Exceptions Regarding the Registration of Programming Books call into question whether the legal system is unified and consistent.


6:Issues with the government’s basic stance
-The fundamental problem with pirated works is their upload, and so download should not be such a main area of focus.
-Furthermore, since downloading was criminalized, criminal penalties were enacted, and the requirement for formal charges from a victim was removed in 2009, there has not been one single arrest. This calls into question the effectiveness of these measures.
-On the other hand, strengthening regulations on downloading restricts the internet freedoms of the public, and atrophies their ability to use the internet.


In light of the above concerns, we would like to strongly urge the reconsideration of the download criminalization proposals.


We would also like to urge the public to submit your comments to the Copyright Division of the Agency for Cultural Affairs at the following address. The deadline for these submissions are October 30th, so don’t delay.

However, we can’t just end with asking the government to protect our rights. It is always important to cultivate the power to protect them ourselves. Towards that end, we would like to announce some good news. In March of this year, we announced “OnionShare”, a file sharing program using the Tor network. Just this month, OnionShare has released an important update.


As of version 2.2, OnionShare can now be used as a simple web host for Hidden Service sites inside the Tor network. By hosting an index.html file and associated content on your own system using OnionShare, you can quickly and easily create a Hidden Service website.


We urge all people to take advantage of this update. And remember…only you can protect your own freedom and privacy online.