Below is an interview of Katanozaka Shinya, Vice Chair of Japan Business Federation [Keidanren], by Sankei’s Tomoda Takehiro.
Asahi: What are your views on the economic security bill?
Katanozaka: Economic security is an issue that must be addressed immediately. It has become difficult to separate the economy from security. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has adversely impacted logistics. We hope that the bill will be passed soon. Keidanren supports the bill as we think is in line with global rules and takes freedom of economic activities into account.
Asahi: Some areas are quite highly regulated.
Katanozaka: Of the four major points in the bill, “pre-examination of core infrastructure” and “nondisclosure of patent applications” tend to be more restricted. It is commendable that the bill stipulates that the basic guidelines for each area must take into consideration the impact on economic and industrial activities. The details of the system will be stipulated in the basic guidelines and ministerial ordinances, and we will need to pay close attention to how these are developed. We will give our views to ensure that the bill does not stifle corporate activities.
Asahi: What kind of guarantees are you looking for to prevent the government from implementing the bill in an arbitrary manner after its passage?
Katanozaka: The bill states that the government should listen to expert opinions when formulating the basic guidelines. Industry views are a good example of perspectives that should be considered. The opinions of experts are important to prevent arbitrary implementation, and we will clearly state our views.
Asahi: Are you concerned that the bill will provoke China?
Katanozaka: From the bill’s initial stages, I have never seen a document that mentions China by name. No specific country has been mentioned at Keidanren meetings, either. Generally speaking, I think everyone is conscious of China since the U.S. and China are in conflict and China is important for Japanese companies in terms of production and consumption.
Asahi: What do you think about the penalties stipulated in the bill?
Katanozaka: The business community is not focused on the penalties but rather on ensuring the freedom of economic activities and maintaining cooperation with foreign partners. Much of our discussions focused on the bill’s goal and mechanisms. There were barely any discussions on the penalties.
Asahi: What do you think needs to be discussed going forward?
Katanozaka: We need to enhance the government’s economic intelligence and to build an effective information security system that other countries can trust.