TOKYO: Japanese authorities have set up a working group to discuss the impact Facebook’s proposed Libra digital coin could have on monetary policy and financial regulation, government sources said, ahead of a G7 finance leaders’ gathering where the topic will be high on the agenda.

The working group, consisting of the Bank of Japan, the Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Agency, began meeting this week and will seek to coordinate policies to address the impact Libra could have on regulation, monetary policy, tax and payments settlement, the sources said.

The plan by the social media giant to build a digital currency has raised concerns among global regulators that it could quickly become systemic given Facebook’s huge cross-border reach.

France is using its presidency of the Group of 7 group of economic powers to launch a task force to look at how central banks can ensure digital currencies like Libra are regulated from money-laundering to consumer-protection rules.

European Central Bank policymaker Benoit Coeure is due to deliver a preliminary report on the matter next week at a meeting of G7 finance ministers in Chantilly, north of Paris.

Japan hopes to rally support from other countries to expand the task force into a bigger group of tax and financial regulators, given the wide range of policies that could be affected by digital currencies, the officials said.

In Japan, the central bank does not oversee banking regulation, which is handled by the Financial Services Agency.

As this year’s chair of the bigger G20 group of major economies, Japan will also look at ways to align efforts made separately by the G7 and G20 to address the policy implications of Libra, the officials said.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2019