Japan’s Diet passes economic security bill as Russia and China raise concerns


The House of Councilors passes a bill to strengthen Japan’s economic security during a plenary session at the Diet in Tokyo on May 11, 2022. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s House of Councilors on Wednesday signed into law a bill aimed at bolstering the country’s economic security amid growing geopolitical risks associated with Russia and China.

The four pillars of the new law include strengthening supply chains to stably source semiconductors and other vital products, as well as facilitating the development of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies through public-private cooperation.

They also include the non-publication of certain patents related to sensitive technologies and the fact that the government controls the equipment that infrastructure operators in sectors such as telecommunications and transport plan to install to mitigate vulnerability to cyberattacks. and other threats.

The measures will come into force in stages starting next spring.

The law’s enactment comes as China’s rise has intensified global high-tech competition and the security environment is rapidly changing amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the area of ​​public-private cooperation, an association will be established for each research area, such as AI, and government-supported think tanks will provide information on overseas development.

The government will designate goods such as chips, pharmaceuticals and rare minerals as critical items to be watched closely and for which it will financially support suppliers to help them procure them on a stable basis.

While the law calls for government support in the private sector, it also provides for a prison term of up to two years or a maximum fine of 1 million yen ($7,670) for those who disclose information of undisclosed patent.

As the details of infrastructure equipment to be reviewed by the government will be set separately by ordinances that do not require Diet deliberations, companies remain concerned about ambiguity and increased government interference in their operations.

A non-binding resolution has been added to the bill stating that the independence of commercial activities must be respected.


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