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Laws concerning Banknote Reproduction

It is a punishable offense to make or knowingly use counterfeit Bank of Japan notes. The same applies to alteration of genuine Bank of Japan notes, including alteration of their face value.

Laws concerning banknote reproduction include the following:

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Please contactpost.prd8@boj.or.jpregarding the use of banknote image (50 dpi) posted on the Bank of Japan's web site.

1. Criminal Code (Law No. 45; April 24, 1907)

Chapter XVI Crimes of Counterfeiting Currency

Article 148. Counterfeiting of currency, uttering, etc.

  1. A person who counterfeits or alters a current coin, paper money, or bank-note with the object of uttering shall be punished with penal servitude for life or not less than three years.
  2. The same shall apply to a person who utters a counterfeit or altered coin, paper money, or bank-note, or who with the object of uttering, delivers or imports the same.

Article 149. Counterfeiting and uttering of foreign currency

  1. A person who counterfeits or alters a foreign coin, paper money, or bank-note circulating in this country with the object of uttering shall be punished with penal servitude for a limited period of not less than two years.
  2. The same shall apply to a person who utters a counterfeit or altered foreign coin, paper money, or bank-note, or who with the object of uttering, delivers or imports the same.

Article 150. Acquisition of counterfeit currency, etc.

A person who obtains a counterfeit or altered coin, paper money or bank-note with the object of uttering shall be punished with penal servitude for not more than three years.

Article 151. Attempts

Attempts of the crimes mentioned in the preceding three Articles shall be punished.

Article 152. Uttering of currency with knowledge after acquisition

A person who after obtaining a coin, paper money, or bank-note, utters it with knowledge that the same is counterfeit or altered or delivers it to the another with the object of uttering shall be punished with a fine or minor fine not exceeding three times the face value thereof. Provided that, the amount shall not be less than two thousand yen.

Article 153. Preparation for counterfeiting currency

A person who prepares implements or materials with the object of using the same for counterfeiting or altering coins, paper money, or bank-notes shall be punished with penal servitude for not less than three months nor more than five years.

<Quoted from"EHS Law Bulletin Series">

2. Law Regulating Imitation of Currency and Securities (Law No. 28, April 5, 1895)

Article 1. Prohibition of Sale of Imitations

No person shall manufacture or sell objects that closely resemble in appearance any current coins, government currency, banknotes, convertible banknotes, government bond certificates, or municipal government bond certificates.

Article 2. Penal Regulations

A person who commits any act described in Article 1 shall be punished with heavy imprisonment for not less than one month and not more than three years and with a fine of not less than five yen and not more than fifty yen.

Note "Heavy imprisonment" has been changed to"penal servitude for a limited term" in accordance with Article 19 of the Penal Code Enforcement Law. The fine in Article 2 was repealed.

<This is an English translation of the Japanese original.>

3. Law Regulating Bills Similar to Banknotes (Law No. 51, May 8, 1906)

Article 1. Ban on Issuance and Circulation

  1. The Finance Minister may prohibit the issuance and circulation of bills that have a fixed value not based on individual transactions, and that have been issued in a large quantity in the same form and that have been deemed to have a similar use as banknotes.
  2. The provisions of Article 1, Paragraph 1 shall applymutatis mutandis in the case of bills of the same denomination that guarantee the provision of goods.

Article 2. Public Notice of Prohibition

  1. The Finance Minister shall immediately give public notice of any prohibition of issuance and circulation of bills pursuant to the provisions of Article 1.
  2. After public notice of a prohibition, any bill that is issued or, for the purpose of circulation, transferred or received shall be deemed void.

Article 3. Penalty

  1. A person who issues, or transfers or receives a bill in violation of a prohibition shall be punished with heavy imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than one thousand yen, and such bill shall be confiscated.
  2. A person who transfers or receives a bill for the purpose of circulation in violation of a prohibition shall be subject to punishment under Article 3, Paragraph 1.

Article 4. Administrative Confiscation

Any bill that is issued, or, for the purpose of circulation, transferred or received after public notice of a prohibition shall, unless such bill is confiscated by court action, be confiscated by administrative disposition, regardless of who possesses it.

Note "Heavy imprisonment" has been changed to"penal servitude for a limited term" in accordance with Article 19 of the Penal Code Enforcement Law.

<This is an English translation of the Japanese original.>

4. Law Regulating the Manufacture of Watermarked Paper (Law No. 149, December 4, 1947)

  1. The manufacture of any paper with a shaded watermark or of paper with a wire watermark that is the same or similar to any letters or designs used for watermarks on government currency, Bank of Japan notes, government bonds, revenue stamps or any other certificates issued by the Government of Japan by any person other than the Government of Japan, the National Printing Bureau or a person permitted to manufacture such paper by the Government of Japan, is prohibited.
  2. The Government of Japan may cause the National Printing Bureau to carry out any necessary investigations before it grants any permission mentioned in Paragraph 1.
  3. A person in violation of the provisions of Paragraph 1 shall be punished with penal servitude for not more than six months or a fine of not more than five thousand yen.

Note The fine set out in Paragraph 3 was revised according to Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the Law concerning Ad Hoc Measures regarding Fines.

<This is an English translation of the Japanese original.>

5. Law concerning Counterfeiting, Alteration, and Imitation of Current Coins, Paper Money, Banknotes, and Securities Circulated in Countries other than Japan (Law No. 66, March 20, 1905)

Article 1. Counterfeiting and Alteration

  1. A person who counterfeits or alters, for the purpose of circulation, any gold or silver coin, paper money, banknotes, or securities issued by the Government of Japan that are circulated only in countries other than Japan, shall be punished with heavy penal servitude or light imprisonment.
  2. A person who counterfeits or alters a coin other than a gold or silver coin shall be punished with light penal servitude or with heavy imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five years.

Article 2. Importing

A person who imports into Japan or into a foreign country, for the purpose of circulation, any counterfeit or altered object mentioned in Article 1, Paragraph 1 shall be subject to punishment under Article 1, Paragraph 2.

Article 3. Circulation with Knowledge

  1. A person who uses any counterfeit or altered object mentioned in Article 1, Paragraph 1 or, for the purpose of circulation, transfers or receives such object, with knowledge that such object is counterfeit or altered shall be punished with light penal servitude or with heavy imprisonment of not less than six months and not more than five years.
  2. A person who, after obtaining any counterfeit or altered object mentioned in Article 1, Paragraph 1, uses or, for the purpose of circulation, transfers or receives such object, with knowledge that such object is counterfeit or altered, shall be punished with a fine of not more than three times the face value of such object. Provided, however, that such fine shall not be less than two yen.

Article 4. Preparation

A person who uses any implements or materials used for counterfeiting or altering as stipulated in Article 1, or who manufactures, transfers or receives, prepares, or imports into Japan or into another country such implements or materials for the purpose of using such implements or materials shall be punished with heavy imprisonment for not less than six months and not more than five years.

Article 5. Import and Sale of Imitations

  1. A person who manufactures or imports into Japan or into another country an object that closely resembles in appearance an object mentioned in Article 1 for the purpose of selling such object shall be punished with heavy imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine of not more than two hundred yen.
  2. A person who sells any object described in Article 5, Paragraph 1 shall be subject to punishment under Article 5, Paragraph 1.

Article 6. Attempted Counterfeiting, Alteration or Imitation

A person who attempts to commit any misdemeanor mentioned in Articles 1 through 5 shall be punished in accordance with the provisions concerning attempts to commit a crime.

Note "Heavy penal servitude","light penal servitude" and"heavy imprisonment" have been changed to"penal servitude for a limited term" in accordance with Article 19 of the Penal Code Enforcement Law.
The fines set out in Article 3, Paragraph 2 and Article 5, Paragraph 1 were revised according to Article 2 of the Law concerning Ad Hoc Measures regarding Fines.

<This is an English translation of the Japanese original.>