Japanese Embassies Worldwide Offer Consultation Services To Counter Coercion; Kamikawa: AI an ‘Existential Threat to Humanity’

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo/span>
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa

Japanese embassies worldwide have started providing consultation service to Japanese companies in an effort to counter economic coercion from China and other countries, Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said in a speech in Tokyo on Monday.

The government will seek to understand and respond to specific cases of economic coercion through public-private collaboration.

Economic coercion is the act of unilaterally applying pressure on a country in order to force the country to accept specific demands or policies. The pressure often includes restricting imports and exports of critical materials. China’s tightening of export controls over rare earth elements, which are essential for producing electronic devices, is one example.

In her speech at Keidanren Kaikan, where the headquarters of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) is located, the foreign minister emphasized that economic coercion is tantamount to weaponizing an economically superior position for political purposes. She called on businesses to actively use the new service on offer at Japanese embassies, saying, “Collecting evidence is essential in order to counter [the coercion].”

Kamikawa also referred to generative artificial intelligence: “We are responding to [generative AI] with a sense of crisis, viewing it as an existential threat to humanity.”

She emphasized Japan’s intention to lead the discussion on reviewing the principles on AI adopted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.