Japan seems to be gaining ground on China as a hub of bitcoin activity in Asia. Some signs this is happening:
The Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer has raised north of $30M USD in multiple rounds of funding. Of particular note is the participation of japanese banking giants Mizuho, Sumitomo Mitsui, and Mitsubishi UFJ. bitFlyer is now one of the top 3 exchanges worldwide and by many measures the largest bitcoin exchange across all currencies [source].
Trezor recently announced that Japan is the country with the fastest growing demand for its hardware storage wallets [source].
A new regulatory framework which will make bitcoin legal tender in the country [source]. Although at least one Japanese bitcoin blogger is skeptical of its value, comparing its heavy requirements to the BitLicense [source].
Google trends data shows steady and rising growth in the search volume for “ビットコイン” (bitcoin in Japanese) [source].
But not all signs are positive – LocalBitcoins Japan doesn’t show significant volume growth [source].