TOKYO -- MUFG Bank and Mizuho Bank will soon stop offering international cash remittances at branches in Japan in a move to combat money laundering.
MUFG Bank, the core unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, currently offers international cash remittances for a charge of 5,000 yen to 5,500 yen ($45-$50) from its branches. This will stop on June 3.
Senders will have to remit money from their accounts instead, and fees will increase from the current 4,000 yen for an intra-group transaction by a few thousand yen. The bank will encourage the use of online banking by keeping that remittance fee at 2,500 yen.
Mizuho Bank of Mizuho Financial Group will stop overseas cash remittances in the spring.
Since cash sources are difficult to track down, many regional banks in Japan have stopped the service, and now the big banks are following suit.
In June, MUFG will introduce additional steps to confirm the sender's profession, purpose of the transactions, and detailed reasons for sending a large sum. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. of the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group will make such confirmations more often based on customer demographics.
The international community keeps a sharp eye on money laundering. The Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body, will send a delegation to Japan in the fall to assess whether measures in place are adequate.
Japan's Financial Services Agency has drawn up guidelines that banks are required to follow.