The Japanese government is aiming to pass a bill on surveying important land at the ongoing 204th ordinary Diet session.
The bill is designed to regulate the use of high security-risk locations close to 1) important defense facilities, 2) remote islands near international borders and 3) key infrastructure such as nuclear power plants.
The move is a response to numerous cases of people considered to be a “security risk” buying land near these important locations.
Japan must avoid the country falling apart from within in the event of an emergency. As the parliamentary official in charge of this matter, I am determined to ensure this bill is passed sooner rather than later.
Thousand Talents Threat
Recently, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced that from fiscal 2021, people applying for grants for scientific research must declare if they have received foreign research funding. This decision was made in response to strong concerns that certain parties could leak information about cutting-edge technology, including that which could be used for military purposes, to a third country.
According to sources, forty-four Japanese researchers have taken part in China’s “Thousand Talents Plan,” and people receiving billions of yen in support from the Japanese government have taken up key positions in the field of Chinese military research.
In Japan, a significant number of foreign nationals are working as researchers at government research institutes and national universities. It has been pointed out that countermeasures in these organizations against possible information leaks are insufficient.
Security of Japanese Economy
Looking ahead, it is vital that there be a discussion of security clearance, which is a standard procedure in developed countries. We must not let our research findings, which are the product of Japanese people’s hard-earned tax money, end up being used against us.
Moreover, there might also be an acceleration in M&A by overseas firms, as a result of companies’ declining performance due to COVID-19.
Under the amended Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act of April 2020, rules on share acquisition of listed companies were tightened. As the next step, we must ensure that all companies that provide products and technology important to Japan, regardless of whether they are large or small, are added under the law.
In April 2020, an “economic team” was newly established within Japan’s National Security Agency, under the order of ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is currently working hard on reinforcing economic security.
However, some security risks that are difficult to detect are emerging in tandem with the increased focus on economic activity. The endless hard-fought battle continues.
I want our economic activity to enhance Japan’s development and Japanese people’s wealth. But isn’t this economic activity and research currently going against Japan’s interests? I want to nurture “awareness of national security” together with the people of Japan.
I want Japan to be a dignified country, which is free and open, but which also takes a firm stand against national security dangers.
Author: Yoshiaki Wada
Yoshiaki Wada is a member of the House of Representatives of the Japanese Diet. Currently he also serves in the official capacity of Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office and Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Financial Services. He can be reached through the homepage of his website, at this link and on Facebook.