Japan to choose tech items in 20 areas to focus on economic security


Japan will limit high-tech items to improve development, procurement and leakage prevention in 20 sectors under its recently enacted economic security law, draft basic guidelines showed on Tuesday.

The 20 sectors include artificial intelligence, hypersonic transport, semiconductors, space, public health and cybersecurity, with the government planning to use a 500 billion yen ($3.6 billion) fund to be created to promote the development of advanced technologies through the public-private sector. Cooperation.

Once the government decides which technologies to focus on, it will recruit research and development staff by the end of the year, under guidelines, which are expected to be approved at a Cabinet meeting in late September.

Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers attend a meeting on economic security at the party headquarters in Tokyo on July 19, 2022. (Kyodo)

If researchers breach the confidentiality of their operations, they risk a prison term of up to one year or a fine of up to 500,000 yen, according to the project.

These technologies are “the source of state power, and major economies have invested human resources, an immense amount of money and time in research and development,” said Takayuki Kobayashi, minister responsible for security. economy, at a regular press conference after a Cabinet meeting.

A trade dispute between the United States and China and the coronavirus pandemic of recent years have exposed the fragility of supply chains and underscored the need to strengthen domestic development and sourcing of key products, such as chips. , medical goods and equipment.

China’s rise in high-tech industry is also behind the Tokyo plan. Its rise has intensified global competition and spurred a rapidly changing security environment that has also been aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, necessitating greater measures to prevent leaks of sensitive technology.

The government presented the draft guidelines at Tuesday’s meeting of the ruling Liberal Democrat Party.

A law was enacted in May to strengthen the country’s economic security. It makes certain patents related to sensitive technologies non-public and requires the government to monitor equipment that infrastructure operators install to mitigate vulnerabilities to cyberattacks and other threats.

The main measures to be defined under the law will come into force in stages from next spring.

The law also stipulates that Japan will strengthen supply chains to ensure the stable supply of semiconductors and other vital products.

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