AI: Japan Plans to Establish National Strategy Council

Reuters file photo
The logo of OpenAI is displayed near a response by its AI chatbot ChatGPT on its website, in this illustration picture taken February 9, 2023.

The government plans to establish a new council to consider national strategy on artificial intelligence, according to sources.

The council will serve as a control tower, providing basic direction on policies concerning AI overall, including ChatGPT, a conversational AI tool that is increasingly being used around the world. It is also expected to discuss challenges involving AI, from the perspective of its utilization and the promotion of research and development, as well as from the standpoint of tightening regulations.

In addition to scholars and researchers well versed in AI technology, the government is considering inviting experts in legal and other fields, and government officials, to participate.

The council is expected to be placed above the government’s AI strategy team, which comprises government offices concerning AI policies. The team held its first meeting on Monday.

Principles agreed on at the council will be reflected in government policies. It will consider how to set domestic rules, taking into account discussions at the Group of Seven Digital and Tech Minister’s Meeting to be held at the end of this month.

The government plans to launch the council under the Cabinet Office as early as May.

ChatGPT and other forms of AI require massive amounts of data to learn and improve their efficiency. Various concerns have therefore been expressed about such matters as the possible collection of personal information without permission, and the danger that generated information may infringe copyrights.

On the other hand, legal systems may need to be reviewed so they can be eased to promote the use of AI.

The council is also expected to discuss the challenges involved in the use of conversational AI in education, administration and private business, as well as how to promote AI research and development by Japanese businesses and institutions.

Aiming not to interfere with technological innovation, Japan has so far conducted discussions based on the principle of limiting the regulation of AI as much as possible. However, there is growing debate in the United States and European countries about whether to tighten control.

Given these circumstances, the council is expected to examine which steps to take while closely watching discussions in Western countries.