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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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1. Penal Code (Act No. 45 of April 24, 1907)

Part II CRIMES

Chapter XVI Crimes of Counterfeiting of Currency

Article 148. Counterfeiting of Currency or Uttering of Counterfeit Currency
  1. A person who counterfeits or alters a current coin, bank note or bill for the purpose of uttering shall be punished by imprisonment for life or for a definite term of not less than 3 years.
  2. The same shall apply to a person who utters, or delivers or imports for the purpose of uttering, a counterfeited or altered coin, bank note or bill.
Article 149. Counterfeiting of Foreign Currency or Uttering of Foreign Currency
  1. A person who counterfeits or alters a foreign coin, bank note or bill which is used in transaction in Japan for the purpose of uttering shall be punished by imprisonment for a definite term of not less than 2 years.
  2. The same shall apply to a person who utters, or delivers or imports for the purpose of uttering, a counterfeit or altered foreign coin, bank note or bill.
Article 150. Acquisition of Counterfeit Currency

A person, who acquires a counterfeit or altered coin, bank note or bill for the purpose of uttering, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 3 years.

Article 151. Attempts

An attempt of the crimes prescribed under the preceding three Articles shall be punished.

Article 152. Uttering of Counterfeit Currency with Knowledge after Acquisition

A person who, after acquiring a coin, bank note or bill, utters or passes it to another for the purpose of uttering thereof, knowing that it is counterfeit or altered, shall be punished by a fine or petty fine of not more than three times the face value thereof; provided, however, that the minor fine shall not be less than 2,000 yen.

Article 153. Preparations of Implements for Currency Counterfeited

A person who prepares implements or materials for the purpose of counterfeiting or altering a coin, money bill or bank note or bill shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 3 months but not more than 5 years.

< This is an unofficial translation of the Japanese original. Quoted from "Japanese Law Translation">

2. Act on Control of Imitation of Currency and Securites (Act No. 28 of 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 Act for Enforcement of the Penal Code. The fine in Article 2 was repealed.

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

3. Act on Control of Securities Similar to Money Bills (Act No. 51 of May 8, 1906)

Article 1. Ban on Issuance and Circulation

  1. The Minister of Finance may prohibit the issuance and circulation of securities 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 money bills.
  2. The provisions of Article 1, Paragraph 1 shall apply mutatis mutandis in the case of securities of the same denomination that guarantee the provision of goods.

Article 2. Public Notice of Prohibition

  1. The Minister of Finance shall immediately give public notice of any prohibition of issuance and circulation of securities pursuant to the provisions of Article 1.
  2. After public notice of a prohibition, any security 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 security 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 security shall be confiscated.
  2. A person who transfers or receives a security 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 security that is issued, or, for the purpose of circulation, transferred or received after public notice of a prohibition shall, unless such security 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 Act for Enforcement of the Penal Code. The fine set out in Article 3 was revised according to Article 2, Paragraph 1 of Act on Temporary Measures concerning Fine and Others.

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

4. Act on Control of Manufacture of Watermarked Paper (Act No. 149 of 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 Act on Temporary Measures concerning Fine and Others.

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

5. Act on Counterfeit, Alteration and Imitation of Coins, Money Bills, Banknotes and Securities Circulating in Foreign States (Act No. 66 of 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, money bills, 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. Import

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 Act for Enforcement of Penal Code.
The fines set out in Article 3, Paragraph 2 and Article 5, were revised according to Article 2, Paragraph 1 and 2 of Act on Temporary Measures concerning Fine and Others.

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