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Trade war

Japan to guard US tech from China with new joint research guidelines

Move aims to prevent leaks through universities

Scientists at Tokyo's Keio University and other Japanese schools will be under pressure to avoid technology leaks. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- Japan is set to review its academic guidelines to prevent leaks of advanced U.S. technologies when universities conduct research with China as well as other countries.

A growing number of Japanese schools are partnering with universities and companies in the U.S., China and elsewhere. Washington intends to impose tight restrictions on the disclosure of advanced technology originating in the U.S. to third countries, and Japan's trade ministry has determined that additional measures will be needed to ensure compliance.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will set specific guidelines for Japanese universities that do research with multiple countries or accept students from abroad. As the U.S. plans to restrict exports of advanced technologies in 14 areas -- including artificial intelligence, biotech, positioning technology, microprocessors, robotics, data analysis, quantum computing, transportation and 3D printers -- to China and other countries, METI may include these fields in the new guidelines.

Current guidelines assume that technologies that can be diverted for military use, such as radars, are restricted under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law. The ministry is expected to compile supplementary documents and widen the scope of areas under management.

The documents are scheduled for release later this year.

But excessive control could provoke a backlash from universities. There are also concerns that the new guidelines could lower the level of joint research conducted with Chinese and other students.

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