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INTERNATIONAL

New framework to speed up export control on advanced tech

  • June 2, 2021
  • , Nikkei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

Japan will work with the U.S. and major European nations to create a new framework for discussing export control, hopefully by the end of FY 2021. It aims to prevent advanced technologies, such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence (AI), from being diverted to military use. The U.S. has already been informed of the plan.

 

The new framework to discuss export control among several countries will speed up decision-making, as the existing multilateral framework involving several dozen nations has proven to be too time-consuming.

 

The establishing concept and purpose of the new framework will be included in the government growth strategy, which will be finalized by the end of this month. In addition to the U.S., major European countries such as Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands will be involved in finalizing the details of the framework, which will cover a wide range of technologies.

 

Sometimes technology, software, and commercial products that are intended for civilian use are diverted to military use by the importing country. If such a case is suspected, several countries will hold talks and promptly activate export control. For example, if a Japanese company produced semiconductor and related materials that could be used for new nuclear weapons, only relevant countries, such as Japan and the U.S., could decide to enforce export control.

 

For items designated to be subject to export control under the new framework, each participating country will reflect that fact in its own domestic rules. Japan will add the designated items to the Foreign Exchange Law’s list of controlled items for which export must be approved by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and export to countries with security issues is not permitted.

 

In addition, it will become more difficult to take technologies and products subject to export control overseas. As the government is concerned about leakage from universities and other research institutions, screening of incoming students and scholars will be stricter and will involve investigations into whether they have past connections with the military. (Abridged)

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