Japan to introduce new rules on overseas transfers of key technologies

Japanese authorities plan to introduce new rules on the international transfer of technologies from the country's key industries to prevent them being used for military purposes.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is expected to oblige private companies to report to the ministry in advance when they plan to transfer technologies from competitive Japanese products, such as semiconductors, aircraft and related products, outside of the country.

Currently, the ministry requires private firms to obtain government permission to transfer technologies related to nuclear power and chemical weapons overseas.

It also requires them to get such permission for the overseas transfer of other technologies that have potential military applications. But prior reporting is not an obligation.

The ministry says it faces the need to strengthen measures to respond to an increase in dual-use technologies that can be used in both the military and civilian sectors.

Under the new scheme, which targets industries where Japan has an edge, private firms are obliged to report to the government in advance if they plan to conduct a joint study or build a plant overseas.

If the government decides that there is a risk of anything being diverted to military use, it will ask the company to get permission in advance. Companies will be punished if they make false statements.

The ministry plans to discuss with the relevant industries what technologies should be subject to the new rules, and to take the procedures necessary to revise relevant ordinances as early as this summer.