Govt panel compiles economic security plan

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Japanese government panel of experts Tuesday compiled recommendations for envisaged economic security legislation, calling for strengthening supply chains for critical goods and ensuring the security of key infrastructure.

Based on the recommendations, the government plans to introduce an economic security promotion bill to the ongoing regular session of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, late this month.

Japan is facing an urgent need to beef up its economic security at a time when the United States and China are competing for economic and technological dominance.

The government aims to enhance its economic security system with the proposed law with four pillars: strengthening supply chains, ensuring the security of core infrastructure, promoting public-private technical cooperation and keeping secret patents on technologies that could be used for military purposes.

Referring to the coronavirus pandemic and geopolitical tensions as risks in terms of economic security, the panel urged the government to quickly shape the legislation and have it enacted.

It also suggested that all government ministries and agencies work together and that necessary manpower, money and systems be made available to help the law work effectively for wide-ranging industry sectors involved.

Based on the recommendations, the government will include in the proposed legislation a financial framework to strengthen the supply chains of strategically important items such as semiconductors and pharmaceuticals.

Core infrastructure will be clearly defined, and an advance screening system will be introduced for procurement of facilities and equipment and outsourcing management for such infrastructure to block foreign interference.

The government plans to stipulate that energy, water, information and communications, financial, transportation and postal services are key infrastructure sectors, informed sources said.

As for the public-private technical cooperation, a think tank will be established in fiscal 2023 to specify cutting-edge technologies that need to be developed and strengthened.

To keep secret patents on sensitive inventions, such as those related to nuclear technologies, the patent office will conduct the first-stage screening of patent applications and a new section involving the Cabinet Office and the Defense Ministry will conduct the second-stage screening.