Japan, Southeast Asian Countries to Hold 1st Online Talks to Combat Disinformation

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister’s Office

Japan plans to hold its first online talks with Southeast Asian countries to discuss measures against disinformation on Monday, government sources said.

The talks are to strengthen cooperation with other countries as tackling disinformation has become an urgent issue due to the progress of digitalization and the increased use of generative artificial intelligence.

Arrangements are underway for senior government officials from six countries, including the Philippines and Thailand, to attend the virtual meeting. Participating countries are expected to learn about real cases of the dissemination of disinformation and information manipulation by foreign countries, as well as share awareness of such problems, while affirming cooperation for disseminating correct information, according to the sources.

During a March visit to India, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had expressed Tokyo’s intention to hold such talks by the end of this year in order to ensure a free and fair information space in his speech announcing a new plan for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

Japan became a target of disinformation after Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. started discharging treated water into the ocean from its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The Japanese government has regarded the dissemination of disinformation as a common challenge that threatens the autonomy of all nations. On Wednesday, Japan signed an agreement with the U.S. to work together on detecting and analyzing disinformation.

“We want to exchange information with other countries to share information and expand a framework for cooperation,” a senior official of the Foreign Ministry said.