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TOKYO (AP) — Five cryptocurrency exchanges have withdrawn their applications to be licensed in Japan, saying they can’t meet the government’s requirements, the Financial Services Agency said Thursday.

Two exchanges, Tokyo GateWay and Mr. Exchange, recently told the government they no longer want to apply for licenses. Three other exchanges: Raimu, bitExpress and Bit Station, dropped out earlier, the agency said.

Japan has been bullish on virtual money and has set up a system requiring that exchanges be licensed to help protect consumers.

Sixteen exchanges have the licenses.

The FSA said the exchanges that are giving up on being licensed will reimburse their customers before shutting down. The companies may also continue with other services that don’t require the cryptocurrency exchange licenses.

Earlier this year, the Tokyo-based Coincheck exchange reported a 58 billion yen ($547 million) loss of a cryptocurrency called NEM, from suspected criminal hacking. There have been no arrests in the case. Coincheck, in operation since 2012, had been applying for a government license but had not yet gotten one.


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