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Economy

Companies need 'economic security executive,' Japan says

Strategic industries urged to appoint policy liaisons

Japan seeks to work with companies in strategic fields to safeguard key technologies.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan wants companies involved in strategic industries such as semiconductors and nuclear power to appoint an executive responsible for economic security issues, Nikkei has learned.

Government officials are preparing to create a forum as early as this year for talks on how to safeguard crucial technology and prevent excessive reliance on Chinese manufacturing, among other topics. The Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, is among the organizations that will be asked to join the forum.

Tokyo's initiative comes as nations tighten controls on artificial intelligence, 5G communication, drones, semiconductors and other technologies that can confer military advantages.

Japan already has approached several companies informally on the possibility of appointing an economic security officer. This post would give Tokyo a liaison for policy discussions who has broad oversight over all of a company's divisions.

The country is home to some of the world's leading suppliers of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and materials, as well as industrial groups that span aerospace, energy, computing and other sectors intertwined with national security.

A group of ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers headed by Akira Amari, a former Japanese economic and industrial minister, will present recommendations on the economic security forum soon. Amari has warned that companies and universities must do more to counter the threat of economic espionage.

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