Broad Backing for AI Framework Key to Curbing Risks; Some Hesitant to Join over China, Russia Concerns

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Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s move to forge a broader international framework on the rules and use of generative artificial intelligence was driven by a need for support from more like-minded nations as the risk of disinformation grows.

The government intends to lead the international community on setting global rules and on technical solutions to reduce the risks posed by AI.

“We must also confront the dark side of AI, such as the risk of disinformation,” Kishida said at a side evet on generative AI held before the opening ceremony of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development meeting in Paris on Thursday. “There is an urgent need to establish international governance.”

Kishida’s message was welcomed by OECD Secretary General Mathias Cormann, who said the results of the Hiroshima AI Process needed to be carried on and advanced further. Others at the meeting also expressed support for the framework, with a delegate from Singapore saying they were “proud to have become a member.” A Mexican official said, “We need measures against disinformation, and we have high expectations for cooperating.”

In 2023, Japan was chair of the Group of Seven leading economies and proposed the Hiroshima AI Process. This was the first comprehensive international agreement reached on AI and laid the foundation for the global community to tackle such issues as the unregulated development of AI, abuse of the technology, and the spread of disinformation. However, China, Russia and other authoritarian states have shown a willingness to jolt democracies. In April, U.S. tech giant Microsoft Corp. announced China and Russia had started using social media and generative AI to try to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election to be held in November.

More nations join in

To fight back, democracies will need to rope in more backers for the Hiroshima AI Process. The Japanese government plans to seek support from OECD members, many of which have similar values on the issue, and then seek support from other countries.

About 40 nations and territories had agreed to participate in the new international framework as of mid-April. The Prime Minister’s Office instructed government officials to put more pressure on members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which resulted in more countries, including ASEAN chair Laos, joining the framework. After his visit to France, Kishida arrived in Brazil to call for cooperation on the framework. Brazil is the current chair of the Group of 20.

However, an international framework involving China and Russia seems highly unlikely, and some nations, concerned about their relations with Beijing and Moscow and wary of rulemaking spearheaded by Western Europe, reportedly were hesitant to join despite Japan’s urging.

To curb the actions of aggressive states, the framework will need as many nations backing it as possible.

“We’ll use summit meetings, international conferences and other forums to encourage even more nations that share our values to participate,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told The Yomiuri Shimbun.