On October 31, the Japanese government announced the freezing of assets belonging to nine individuals and one cryptocurrency trading company accused of financially aiding the Palestinian militant group Hamas, as per Kyodo News. This action comes amidst an ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, with other nations like the United States taking similar steps to curb the financial streams that fuel Hamas’s activities.
The Japanese government’s decision targets entities purportedly involved in the financial support of Hamas, which is engaged in rocket attacks against Israel. Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s Defence Minister, during a press briefing, emphasized on continued evaluation of potential sanctions from a counterterrorism financing perspective.
The United States had previously enforced sanctions against individuals and entities associated with Hamas on October 18. The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated ten individuals and entities, extending beyond the Gaza Strip to Sudan, Türkiye, Algeria, and Qatar. This action aimed at dismantling Hamas’s financial network, aligns with the broader international initiative to disrupt terrorist financing.
The involvement of a cryptocurrency trading company in this case sheds light on the growing global concern over digital financial platforms facilitating illicit financial flows, a matter that has been underscored by the US sanctions targeting a Gaza-based virtual currency exchange.
These actions by Japan and the US reflect a growing international consensus to tackle terrorism financing. The measures add a financial dimension to the efforts aimed at curbing militant activities in the Middle East, amidst the continuing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
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