October 9, 2019
The government is looking at making artificial intelligence, biotechnology and other technologies subject to export controls as early as fiscal 2020.
Japan plans to strengthen export controls to prevent advanced technologies from getting into the hands of foreign countries, it has been learned.
The government will review the implementation of the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law as early as fiscal 2020 to make artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and other technologies subject to export controls, according to informed sources. The United States has been strengthening export controls on advanced technologies with China in mind, and Japan is facing the need to take corresponding measures to ensure national security.
Japan has so far used the law to restrict exports to specific countries of products that can be converted to military use like radars, machine tools and certain materials. The measure accords with the international trade control framework and is not unique to Japan.
However, the advanced technologies and expertise used to create finished products are outside the scope of the export restrictions despite posing security risks.
Taking aim at China, the United States has already announced a plan to apply export controls to 14 high-tech fields including AI, robots and biotechnology. It is aiming to create guidelines related to accepting funds and human resources to prevent the leak of advanced technologies from companies and universities. The United States and some European countries have expressed concern about technology leaking from Japanese companies and universities. In response, the Japanese government decided to impose its own restrictions based on the US restrictions.
Specifically, the government will create guidelines calling for companies to better manage internal information to prevent engineers from taking key technologies to external entities. The government will also encourage universities to voluntarily create guidelines aimed at ending the acceptance of human resources and money from countries to which technologies could leak.
In recent years, weapons with parts made in Japan have been found in the Middle East and other regions. The government will also propose reviewing the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law to stop the entry of foreigners aiming to steal Japanese technologies.