Japan ruling parties approve economic security bill

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The ruling parties on Wednesday broadly approved the final draft of an economic security promotion bill, which specifies penalties for private-sector offenders in all of the bill’s four fields.

The government plans to adopt the legislation at a Cabinet meeting as early as Feb. 25 and submit it to the ongoing session of the Diet.

The four areas are the strengthening of supply chains, prior screenings of critical infrastructure, public-private cooperation on advanced technologies, and the nondisclosure of patents on sensitive technologies that could be used for military purposes.

On supply chains, the draft bill calls for financial aid to ensure networks providing “specified important goods,” which will be designated by ordinances.

It also calls for prior screenings of investments in and management regimes for 14 types of critical infrastructure, including electricity, gas and financial services, as well as for tighter rules regarding the development of advanced technologies and on the management of patents.

The penalties include fines and prison terms for false reports by public and private financial institutions providing aid for supply chains, as well as by operators of critical infrastructure, and for leaks of information on public-private cooperation and secret patents.

Meanwhile, the government initially planned to include in the bill a fine of up to ¥300,000 on private corporations refusing to submit documents in government surveys on critical supply chain networks. The final draft, however, omitted this penalty, due to opposition from the business world and Komeito, the junior partner in the ruling coalition.