In the second half of the year, trading volumes of Bitcoin against the Japanese Yen have been picking up gradually, with the occasional record-breaking day. But the rise in Japanese trading somehow resembles the graph in the rise of Bitcoin.
As the chart shows, trading picked up to record volumes during the first bout of news from China in September, and remains robust as the Chinese government put a stop on trading activity. Bitcoin has been deemed "legal tender" in Japan since last spring. The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) also endorsed 11 exchange and trade services.
Mining is also a robust activity in Japan, with 137 Bitcoin full nodes, though only 4 Monero nodes and six Litecoin nodes.
The nearby effect of the South Korean trading and tech community only adds to the success of Japan. And the image as a Bitcoin hotbed has not suffered the permanent curse of MtGox- Japan is still the place to trade Bitcoin.
But there is a dark side to this development. The Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff believes Japan may attract shady businesses which pump Bitcoin into local exchanges and easily launder the money. Rogoff compared Bitcoin to large-denomination bills which foster a grey economy and shady transactions.
The exchanges in Japan have tried to make trading happen in the open, with serious due diligence procedures. But trading and exchanging are happening despite the requirements described in this Reddit thread.
Japan currently controls nearly 60% of Bitcoin trading, and may be one of the important forces for the climb above $5,200 this Thursday.