Diet passes anti-terror funding bill

Yomiuri Shimbun, 6 June 2002

A bill designed to punish those who help finance terrorists and those receiving such funds passed the House of Councillors plenary session Wednesday morning.

With the passage of the bill, which was backed by ruling and opposition party members with the exception of those from the Social Democratic Party, all three domestic laws required to ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism have been readied for enactment, which will happen this month at the earliest.

The law specifies a prison term of up to 10 years or a fine of up to 10 million yen for those who collect and provide funds to aid criminal acts, such as hijackings and terrorist bombings. The law was designed to punish those who aid and abet terrorism, regardless of whether they are actually involved in terrorist acts.

The law concerning punishing organized crime, controlling proceeds from crimes and other matters was revised to include acts that could be deemed to fund terrorist activities. Money-laundering prevention rules would mandate financial institutions to report questionable transactions to financial authorities, enabling questionable funds to be seized, collected and maintained by judicial authorities.

One of the three relevant laws that have already passed the Diet and been enacted requires financial institutions to confirm the identity of people opening accounts and those making financial transactions of more than 2 million yen. It also requires financial institutions to keep transaction records.

A revised Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law, another of the three laws, also has been enacted to enable the swift freezing of funds belonging to terrorist organizations.