Japan set to exclude Huawei, ZTE from gov't procurement

A woman walks by a Huawei logo at a shopping mall in Shanghai, China, on Thursday. (Reuters)

TOKYO: Japan plans to effectively exclude Chinese telecommunication equipment makers Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp from public procurement, a government source said Friday.

The announcement comes amid concerns about security breaches which have already led the United States and some other countries to ban them from supplying infrastructure products.

Cybersecurity officials of relevant government agencies will likely agree at a meeting as early as Monday to block the Chinese firms from taking part in government procurement, without explicitly naming the two companies in consideration of the potential impact on Tokyo's relations with Beijing, which have shown signs of improvement, the source said.

The officials are expected only to confirm that public procurement contracts should take into account security aspects, the source added.

While declining to comment on the details of government procurement policies, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference, "Ensuring the cybersecurity of government agencies has become increasingly important. We will deal with the matter from various perspectives."

Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya also pledged efforts to ensure security. According to a Defence Ministry official, the ministry does not use products from Huawei or ZTE in the key components of its information systems.

The move by the Japanese government comes after the United States, Japan's key ally, enacted the National Defence Authorization Act in August that bans the government's use of Huawei and ZTE technology products and services out of concern over their connections with Chinese intelligence.

Australia has also excluded both companies from its next-generation mobile network, as has New Zealand.

"There have been global concerns about the two companies' ties with the Chinese government. But we need to make sure that we will not stop the recent trend of improvement in Japan-China ties," a Japanese government source said.

Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei and daughter of its founder, on Saturday in Vancouver at the request of US authorities, the country's Justice Department said Wednesday.

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