Tokyo Assemblyman Wants to Turn City into Crypto Powerhouse

A Tokyo city assemblyman has spoken out about ambitious plans to transform the Japanese capital into a crypto-powered financial hub – claiming that embracing crypto assets could help put the city on a par with London and Hong Kong.

Speaking to Finders (via Yahoo Japan), Yuu Ito, a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly currently serving his third term, referred to plans laid out by the current Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, who has gone public with her plans to boost the city’s international financial standing.

But Ito claimed that it will be no mean feat to bring Tokyo up to the same kind of standing as London or Asian financial hubs like Macau and Hong Kong unless radical action is taken.

He stated that crypto-related business could give Tokyo the edge, but added that this would be far from easy considering that Japanese bitcoin (BTC)-to-yen ownership rates have dropped significantly in the past three years. The assembly member claimed that high rates of tax have likely frightened investors away from the market.

However, he claimed that moves such as the proposed redevelopment of the Tsukiji Market – a historic fish market dating back to the 1600s – could play a role. The huge market is now closed and will be used as a transport depot in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics this summer. But the city, which owns the site, has unveiled plans to redevelop the market into a high-tech complex with hotels and convention centers in the next 20 years.

And the assembly member explained that crypto could play a part here – becoming a “trading center for cryptocurrencies.”

Ito also claimed that “politicians need to tackle issues connected with monetary policy and BTC taxation” – and proposed creating “a special zone in Tokyo” where people could use bitcoin in a tax-free environment.

Cities that move fast with adoption plans like these will “win” the tech race, he added.

Although Ito will have a mountain to climb if he is to convince fellow assembly members to get on board with a project of this sort, at least one ally has already emerged. Speaking to the same outlet, assembly member Nobuko Irie agreed that blockchain-powered solutions could help in the short-term as well as the long-term.

She claimed that the technology could be used to help distribute coronavirus pandemic-related economic aid more effectively, and suggested that Tokyo should develop a space where non-fungible token (NFT) artworks could be traded.

She added that crypto and blockchain provided a unique opportunity for politicians, adding that if the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly “takes the initiative,” Tokyo could rise to the fore on the global stage.

Ito added that blockchain technology should be used “as a growth strategy” to “generate wealth” for the Japanese capital.

Meanwhile, a Coin Post-conducted survey of 1,000 crypto enthusiasts in Japan has found that the token most respondents think will have a breakout 2021 is BTC – with almost 68% of votes. Bitcoin was followed by ethereum (ETH) in second place with 12.7% and NEM’s XEM with 7%.

In a press release, the media outlet stated that 90% of respondents claimed they already own crypto, while 60% began trading in the 2015-2017 period – and 6% stated they had invested USD 184,000 or more on crypto assets.

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