Study Team to Start Considering AI Legislation in Summer; Aims to Boost Competitiveness in Related Fields

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Words reading “Artificial intelligence AI,” miniature of robot and toy hand are pictured in this illustration taken Dec. 14, 2023.

The government plans to establish a new expert panel tasked with considering artificial intelligence-related legislation that will focus on ensuring the AI technology is used safely, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

This plan was included in a draft of the government’s Integrated Innovation Strategy 2024, an action plan compiled annually to promote technological innovation. The Cabinet likely will approve this year’s innovation strategy in June.

The new panel, which would be set up this summer, has tentatively been named the “AI system study group.”

According to the draft, domestic investment is showing signs of expansion, and the nation is facing its “last chance” to ensure this “turning point” leads to sustainable growth. The draft indicated that the public and private sectors should make bold investments in research and development that will lead to economic growth.

At a time of increasingly severe labor shortages, the draft points out that greater automation and labor efficiencies through AI and robotics are “urgent tasks” and emphasizes that the social implementation of these technologies will accelerate.

The draft also acknowledges that the development of generative AI comes with risks including the spread of false information and increasingly sophisticated crimes. Accordingly, the draft clearly states the new study group will start examining how any legislative system covering AI should look and operate.

Moves to craft legal regulations have been accelerating in the European Union and the United States. On May 22, the Japanese government showed its intention to start discussing AI legislation at a meeting of the AI Strategy Council. The new study group would be established under this council. This group is expected to examine regulations that cover issues including large AI developers and AI that is misused to foment discrimination or prejudice or to commit crimes or terrorist acts.

The draft included a plan to encourage the public and private sectors to work closely together on cutting-edge research and development designed to ensure AI can be used safely. This would include technologies that prevent “hallucinations,” which are generative AI-created outputs that appear to be real but are nonexistent.

Other problems that have emerged include the spread of fake advertisements on social media that use the names and images of prominent figures. The draft called for the research and development of technologies to deal with these problems, and for pushing ahead with “comprehensive measures” such as further promotion of fact-checking.