Global watchdog urges Japan to boost fight against money-laundering

A global financial crimes watchdog urged Japan on Monday to improve cooperation between different government agencies as part of efforts to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Responding to the report by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Japan’s finance ministry announced a three-year action plan that will include an anti-money laundering inter-agency task force and tighter supervision of financial institutions.

The FATF report, the result of a 14-month peer review of Japan, said there was generally good interagency cooperation among Tokyo’s law enforcement bodies in the area of money-laundering.

But FATF, an inter-governmental body that underpins the fight against money-laundering and terrorist financing worldwide, suggested that Japan “designate a joint-agency body responsible for setting national anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing policies and activities”.

Welcoming the FATF report, Finance Minister Taro Aso said combating money-laundering was “essential to our strategy to make Japan an international financial hub open to the world”.

FATF recommendations help the body’s more than 200 members around the world to go after the money of criminals dealing in illegal drugs, human trafficking and other crimes. The FATF also works to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction.