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Yen-bitcoin transactions now account for 40% of the global total.   © Reuters

Japan turns into cryptocurrency haven as others crack down

Loose rules allow for innovation, but do risks outweigh the rewards?

KOSUKE TAKAMI, Nikkei staff writer | China

TOKYO -- Japan is fast turning into the world's top haven for cryptocurrencies, drawing benefit from a broader clampdown in China and South Korea on the main digital currency, bitcoin.

Authorities in Tokyo are walking a tightrope between protecting consumers and preserving Japan's own reputation for innovation. But some fear the reluctance to tighten the rules on bitcoin trading could expose the country to financial risk.

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