Tobita & Partners provides high quality legal advice and assistance to Japanese, foreign and foreign-based corporations and individuals.

ビットコイン スタートBook
江嵜 宗利

I learned from the “Bitcoin Book for Beginners” by my colleague, Mr. Esaki that with regard to bitcoin, the tax Q&As and comments have already been announced by the National Tax Agency. Although consumption tax does not apply, when individuals trade, as a rule, it becomes miscellaneous income, except when it is recognized as business income, and when a corporation transacts, corporation tax (as income of the corporation) will be imposed.
What I thought was a bit unreasonable is that even if you buy something with bitcoin, taxation would apply. For example, if you purchased 1 BTC for 400,000 yen on April 1 and paid 600,000 yen for home appliances at Yamada Electrics on April 10, and then paid 1 BTC because the rate for 1 BTC at that time was 600,000 yen, you would incur a miscellaneous income of 200,000 yen. However, if you had to record the rate every time you bought an item and then compare it to the rate of bitcoin purchase costs, you would not be able to benefit from money markets, rendering the benefits of cryptocurrency pointless. Additionally, it would be incredibly difficult to make frequent purchases of some items in shops. Even though Japan worked on the virtual currency law ahead of other developed nations, the use of the virtual currency will not spread, and this will be the result of such nonsense.

However, when I asked a tax accountant about this issue, it seems that such handling is the same with foreign currency. For example, if you purchased $400 for ¥400,000 on April 1, then the yen depreciated rapidly, and you bought home appliances for ¥600,000 on April 10 at $400 US, you would still incur a miscellaneous income of 200,000 yen. Thus, the tax accountant says that even if you buy things in dollars, if you convert it to Japanese yen to determine the number of dollars, the income has to be taken into account, so from the tax law point of view, it is not theoretically wrong.

Therefore, in order to change such tax laws, it is necessary for bitcoins to be as prevalent as Japanese yen, so that it would not be necessary to convert them into yen to buy things. I dream of this happening someday.

ビットコイン スタートBook
江嵜 宗利

Mr. Munetoshi Esaki, a lawyer at our office, published a bitcoin book. The title is "Bitcoin for Beginners". (Sorry, this book is only available in Japanese.)

He studied computer programming from the age of 13. In his university days, he created computer games. After becoming a lawyer, he began to do bitcoin trading as soon as it spread to the world, and he has recently become a victim of the Nem spill incident. 

So this is a book written by a lawyer who understands the technology of the virtual currency, actually trades it, and has faced some incidents.

He said "In a Q & A format, this book is divided into an introductory part (how to use bitcoin, etc.), a technology part (the mechanism of bitcoin, etc.), and a law and tax part (virtual currency law and income calculation methods, etc.). I explained the relatively wide range. "

If you are interested in bitcoin, I recommend that you buy it.  

Do you know the volume of land area in Japan, for which the owners are unknown?

According to a survey by the Unknown Owners Land Problem Research Institute, which is organized by the Japan Land Planning Association and so on, it is estimated that there were approximately 4.1 million hectares in 2016.

You may not be able to imagine how large 4.1 million hectares is. In fact, it is larger than Kyushu Island (3.6 million hectares), which is the third-largest island of Japan and the most southwesterly of the four main islands.

Then, it seems that one of the main causes of unknown land ownership is the replacement by inheritance, so in the future, there will be a large inheritance period, in which the baby boomers will die in large numbers, and this trend will lead to about 7.2 million hectares in 2020. As the area of Hokkaido is 8.3million hectares, this means that the owners of a land area equivalent to the area of Hokkaido will not be known.

There will be a problem if this occurs. 
Why does land with unknown ownership occur? 
It is because the ownership of land also involves obligations, such as property tax payment and land management. In other words, the more land with unknown owners, the less tax revenue there will be, and then even more land will lack proper management and will degrade.

Of course, the government has addressed this problem. It has already enacted the Special Measures Act for Facilitating the Use of Lands with Unknown Owners at the regular parliament last year (2018). This makes it possible for companies and municipalities to use existing land with unknown ownership for public purposes, such as parks and parking lots.

However, since this is insufficient, in the current parliament, the following bill is being discussed. That is, the registrar investigates land for which the owner's name and address are not properly registered and correctly rewrites the owner on the register. If they still do not know the owner, the court will choose a manager by petition of the municipality or company that wants to use the land, and the manager will be able to sell the land.

When it comes to the fact that there are lands with unknown owners that amount to more than the area of Kyushu in the whole country, there may be lands that many people want, so it is possible that such a law can lead to activity for the real estate business.

In addition, as mentioned above, the occurrence of unknown land ownership is one of the reasons that the registration of heirs is not made at the time of inheritance, so the government is currently making progress in discussions towards the obligatory registration of inheritance. In addition, because the existence of the obligation (property asset tax payment and land management duty) associated with land ownership is also a reason for the occurrence of unknown land ownership, discussions as to whether the abandonment of land ownership rights is permitted are also underway. Abandoned land will be once assigned to the recipient organization and will create a mechanism for matching unused land with people who want to use it. Regarding the obligatory registration of succession and the abandonment of land ownership, there is an aim to propose a bill to the extraordinary parliament in 2020.

One of my specialties is real estate law. 
This problem (unknown ownership of land) is very interesting to me and I will continue to monitor this situation from now on.