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The Japanese government has sanctioned a cryptocurrency exchange believed to be connected to Hamas by freezing its assets. This move also targets nine individuals linked to Hamas. Yonhap News announced this decision, made on October 31st during a cabinet session.

Japan Cracks Down on Funding to Hamas

Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, has been engaged in continuous confrontations with Israel. Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has characterized their actions as acts of terror.

The sanctions enacted by Japan are designed to halt the monetary support to Hamas and were effective immediately.

In a press briefing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno reaffirmed the government’s dedication to tackling the financing of terrorism. He said, “We will continue to review sanctions targets from the perspective of countermeasures against terrorist financing.”

The US had already implemented similar sanctions. On the 18th, the U.S. penalized various individuals and organizations associated with the militant group based in Palestine.

The US sanctions targeted ten entities, including individuals and an organization, spread across several countries, including the Gaza Strip. The basis for these sanctions were allegations of ties to terrorist activities.

Debate Over Crypto Donations to Hamas

A prior report from the Wall Street Journal suggested that Hamas had acquired more than $41 million in cryptocurrency donations before their October 7 attack on Israel. This claim influenced discussions among US legislators on the potential risks of cryptocurrencies in financing terrorism.

However, Elliptic, a blockchain analytics company, later challenged these claims, stating there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove Hamas had received such large crypto donations.

Chainalysis, another analytics company, released a report casting doubts over the recent claims about cryptocurrency’s significant role in funding terrorism.