The Japanese government has decided to stop purchasing devices from Chinese electronics makers Huawei and ZTE. The Japanese government has made this choice in an effort to bolster its defense against cybersecurity attacks and intelligence leaks. Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE have been under investigation by the U.S. government. The U.S. believes the companies are being used by the Chinese government for intelligence gathering on governments and non-Chinese citizens.
The Yomiuri newspaper, which first reported the news of Japan’s planned ban earlier on Friday, said the government was expected to revise its internal rules on procurement as early as Monday.
The government does not plan to specifically name Huawei and ZTE in the revision, but will put in place measures aimed at strengthening security that apply to the companies, a person with direct knowledge and a person briefed on the matter said.
Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, declined to comment. But he noted that the country has been in close communication with the United States on a wide range of areas, including cybersecurity.
“Cybersecurity is becoming an important issue in Japan,” he told a regular news conference. “We’ll take firm measures looking at it from a variety of perspectives.”
Neither company has made comment on the Japanese government decision but this news comes just as Huawei’s CFO was arrested in Canada for suspicion of violating United States trade sanctions against Iran. So it will be interesting where all of these ends up leading. Some months earlier, ZTE also found itself in hot water with the United States government. They seemed to have pulled themselves out for the time being.