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Trade war

Japan to ban government contracts for suppliers posing security risks

New procurement guidelines understood to target Huawei and other Chinese companies

The Japanese government has not singled out any companies explicitly, but it is understood that new procurment guidelines are aimed at Huawei and othe Chinese manufacturers.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan will for the first time issue guidelines for the procurement of telecommunications equipment by central government ministries and the Self-Defense Forces, in an effort to prevent leaks of sensitive information.

These bodies have so far been free to choose suppliers based on price, but in light of recent developments, more emphasis will now be placed on national security risks.

The government has not named any companies explicitly, but it is understood that the guidelines are being drawn up with Chinese makers such as Huawei Technologies in mind.

Canadian authorities on Wednesday arrested Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of the U.S. government.

Meng, who is also deputy chairwoman of the company and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, is being held on suspicion of shipping products to Iran in breach of U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. has increased the monitoring of five Chinese companies, including Huawei, ZTE and surveillance camera maker Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, citing security reasons.

Procurement and system officers at all ministries will be briefed from Monday on the new guidelines, which will take effect sometime next year.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, "Ensuring cybersecurity has become increasingly important at government agencies," after a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

China reacted quickly on Friday, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang expressing concerns over reports that Japan plans to ban government purchases of equipment from companies including China's Huawei.

Geng urged the Japanese government to make sure it offers a "fair competition environment" when it sets new guidelines. Geng made the statements at a daily news briefing in Beijing.

The government in July issued guidelines designed to prevent cyberattacks such as data theft or system sabotage.

Thenew guidelines will define the criteria by which to select suppliers of equipment such as PCs, servers and mobile phones, so that even people with limited technical expertise will be able to implement adequate security measures.

Nikkei staff writer Oki Nagai in Beijing contributed to this report.

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