The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s Research Commission on Intellectual Property Strategy (chairperson Yoshimasa Hayashi) formulated a proposal on May 21 to institute qualifications to limit the number of personnel allowed to access cutting-edge technologies and other classified information. Anticipating that opportunities for international collaborative research will increase, the proposal aims to prevent technology and information leaks from advanced industries, data that could be diverted for military use. The proposal will soon be submitted to the Japanese government.
The U.S. and the European Union (EU) have a system of “security clearance,” which restricts access to important information. The LDP proposal suggests that Japan should fortify information management regarding technologies that could be converted to military and security uses, and institute a system that facilitates cooperation with other countries.
The proposal emphasizes the need to enhance internal controls at universities and research institutes that accept international students and foreign researchers. It requests the Japanese government to consider containment measures, such as controls in immigration and visa issuance.
It has been pointed out that information management is lax in Japan compared with the U.S. and Europe. China’s National Intelligence Law requires Chinese companies and individuals to cooperate in intelligence activities. There are rules that can be interpreted as penalties for individuals or companies that refuse to cooperate. The U.S. is concerned about the risk of leaks happening during research activities.
Japan passed its Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets in 2014. The Act set rules for the management of state secrets and instituted severe penalties for the disclosure of such information. Only government officials authorized to handle specially designated secrets and personnel of some private corporations, such as those in the defense industry, are subject to the Act.
Disciplines linked to security, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum technology are expanding. To prevent the disclosure of classified information, the proposal aims to limit people in industry and research who can access such technologies.
The proposal calls for a “law to promote industry data utilization (tentative title)” so that data held by private and government entities may be utilized across different organizations.