Japan plans to ban government purchases of equipment from Chinese telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE due to national security concerns, Reuters reports, citing sources.
The move comes as Chinese tech firms are under intense scrutiny from Washington and some prominent allies over ties to the Chinese government, driven by worries they could be used by Beijing for spying, the report noted.
According to the Yomiuri newspaper, which first reported the news of Japan’s planned ban, the government is expected to revise its internal rules on procurement as early as Monday.
The government does not plan to specifically name Huawei and ZTE in the revision, but will put in place measures aimed at strengthening security that apply to the companies, a source told Reuters.
Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, declined to comment on the matter, but said Tokyo has been in close communication with Washington on a wide range of areas, including cybersecurity.
“Cybersecurity is becoming an important issue in Japan,” Suga was quoted as saying at a regular news conference. “We’ll take firm measures looking at it from a variety of perspectives.”
Japan’s proposed ban comes after Huawei has been locked out of the US market and after Australia and New Zealand have blocked the firm from building 5G networks.
Huawei has repeatedly insisted that Beijing has no influence over it.
The Chinese firm supplies some network equipment to private Japanese telcos NTT Docomo and KDDI Corp.
“The government will not buy where there are security concerns but it is difficult to restrict procurement by private companies,” Reuters cited a source as saying.
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