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Japan tightens background screening of defense contractors

Checklist includes nationality, career and study-abroad history of personnel involved

A Japanese-built F-35A fighter jet is unveiled in Aichi Prefecture in 2017. (Photo by Takuya Imai)

TOKYO -- Japan will introduce the strictest screening standards to date for defense contractors, going as far as checking which country a worker studied abroad in, to prevent sensitive information from falling into foreign hands, in line with U.S. calls to address potential risks to national security.

The Ministry of Defense will require bidding companies to disclose their ownership stakes and data safeguards, as well as the nationality and career background of the personnel involved in the deal. The stringent standards aim to prevent data leaks to such countries as China. Cyberattacks have heightened the potential for such breaches, and defense contractors are increasingly at risk of infiltration.

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