Yokohama and Fuji cityscape.

Japan establishes ‘Web 3.0 Policy Office’ to formulate metaverse-related policies

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has established an office named the “Web 3.0 Policy Office” under the Minister’s Secretariat.

According to the ministry’s official announcement, the office has the mandate of strengthening the framework for developing the business environment in relation to Web 3.0. It will serve as a Cross-Departmental Internal Organization, bringing together all government bodies responsible for Web 3.0.

These include “departments responsible for industrial finance, taxation, and corporate system (vehicles),” as well as those responsible for “media and content, sports, fashion, and the other related industries,” the METI announcement said.

The office will operate by gathering information about the challenges facing the Web 3.0 business environment in Japan and overseas from stakeholders. The ministry added that the initiative should help in stemming the exodus of Web 3-related businesses from the country.

“Given that some entrepreneurs pursuing Web3-related business are leaving Japan for opportunities overseas, deliberations toward developing the business environment in Japan need to be accelerated,” the ministry wrote.

Web 3.0 is a term used to describe the third iteration of the internet that is powered by blockchain-related technologies like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and digital assets for creating value and managing data. According to the Ministry of Economy, the younger generation’s interest in Web 3.0 could mean that digital assets and spaces become more important to Japan’s economy.

Japan looking to tap the economic potential of blockchain technology

The establishment of the office is a follow-up to the Japanese government’s approval of a new policy that will develop and expand the Web3 environment in the country, as reported by a local news outlet last month.

The policy will see the parliament deliberate on bills that touch on the use of digital assets, NFTs, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) during their 2023 sessions.

The report added that Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says he believes that incorporating new digital services such as the metaverse and NFTs will boost Japan’s economy.

Meanwhile, Japan’s digital assets industry has continued to struggle with self-regulation and may see the government step in. The Financial Services Authority (FSA), Japan’s financial market regulator, has told the Japan Virtual and Crypto Assets Exchange Association (JVCEA) to amp up its efforts to introduce key regulations.

The JVCEA, which is the body that governs local digital assets exchanges, has already been in talks to shorten the time spent on screening digital assets by easing the screening process. The body is also under pressure to implement sanctions against Russia.

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