The year has been a particularly rough year for Chinese OEMs and more so for ZTE and Huawei. ZTE almost risked losing its Android license and had to pay billions of dollars in fees to continue operating on US soil. Similarly, Huawei’s proposed carrier deals with AT&T and Verizon fell through due to political pressure. To make matters worse, US government agencies were then banned from using technology made by either firm. The US even ‘encouraged’ some of its allies to stop using ZTE and Huawei tech and today, it looks like Japan might be following suit. Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga 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. We’ll take firm measures looking at it from a variety of perspectives.”
According to a report by Reuters, the Japanese government has similar concerns about Chinese equipment being used for spying and will cease purchases from Huawei and ZTE. Although ZTE and Huawei have vehemently denied the allegations of spying, a lot of countries are skeptical about using their equipment. Australia and New Zealand have even blocked them both from installing 5G network infrastructure, while the UK’s BT has stopped using Huawei equipment in its 3G and 4G network setups.
The government plans to put in place measures aimed at strengthening security that apply to Huawei and ZTE in the revision. Considering that Japan has strong trade links with China, the influence of the US is plain to see in this instance. Huawei already supplies some network equipment to private Japanese telcos NTT Docomo and KDDI Corp. Tensions were already building between the US and China following the arrest of Huawei’s global CFO in Canada last week, and it doesn’t look as though these relationships will be improving anytime soon.
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