In an exclusive interview conducted by the Sankei Shimbun on Dec. 7, Kobayashi Takayuki, the minister for economic security, emphasized the importance of positioning the concept of economic security in the “National Security Strategy (NSS),” Japan’s basic policy for foreign affairs and defense. (Interviewed by Okada Mitsuki).
Sankei: You were involved in economic security policy prior to assuming the post of economic security minister.
Kobayashi: Foreign companies are legally acquiring the advanced technology Japan has developed by investing tax money. They are also headhunting our human resources and stealing information through cyberattacks. I got into the field of economic security because I see the government is not adequately addressing this crisis. Without a broader economic perspective on security, Japan cannot protect its national interests and the lives and livelihoods of the Japanese people.
Sankei: The Japanese government aims to submit an [economic security] promotion bill to the 2022 ordinary Diet session.
Kobayashi: We have set up an expert meeting to start discussions [on the bill]. We aim to base the law on four pillars, one of which is supply chain resilience.
Sankei: To what extent will economic security be included in the National Security Strategy, which the government aims to revise by the end of 2022?
Kobayashi: I would like to show the basis for Japan’s thinking when we revise the National Security Strategy. If Japan does not have a clearly defined vision, it will simply follow other countries’ actions when we consider cooperation with other countries. It is important for Japan to take the initiative in creating the international order and rules by eliminating the weaknesses and refining the strengths of Japan’s economy and advanced technology.
Sankei: Some in the business community are concerned that economic security will lead to the regulation of economic activities.
Kobayashi: The expert meeting includes members of the business community, such as delegates from the Japan Business Federation [Keidanren]. It is extremely important to pay attention to private sector viewpoints as we move forward and to clarify what will be regulated. The regulations will not function if we proceed without a shared understanding of the situation.
Sankei: Is there a way to prevent research funds from getting into the hands of researchers connected with the Chinese Communist Party and other entities that threaten Japanese security?
Kobayashi: We do not have a specific country in mind. By the end of this year, we will revise the guidelines for “research integrity,” which ensure the integrity and fairness of research. The government is now calling on researchers and research institutes to disclose information. In addition, we would like to institute specific measures against those that make false reports.