Report: Japan drawing closer to ban on Chinese drones

Jan. 14 (UPI) — Japan is moving toward a ban on Chinese drone imports, according to a local press report.

Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported Tuesday the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is moving toward supporting drone development among domestic firms while effectively excluding Chinese drone manufacturers from the Japanese market.

The government has decided to submit a bill to parliament on Monday related to its new drone policy, the report says.

National security concerns were cited as a reason for the government’s plans.

According to the Asahi, concerns are rising in Japan that third parties could hack into Japanese networks to manipulate drones or extract images taken by aircraft.

U.S. government warnings against Chinese drones may have had some impact on the decision. A Japanese government official told the Asahi Washington is concerned important data could be leaked through drones made in China. The source added China could protest potential Japanese decisions to ban Chinese drones.

Japan has also decided to effectively ban Chinese ships from jointly conducting private maritime surveys in Japan’s territorial waters, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Tuesday.

Tokyo has found evidence of Chinese vessels transferring information on Japanese waters to China. Concerns remain the data could be used for Chinese military purposes, according to the report.

Japan is taking a cautious approach to Chinese technology as it signals closer relations with Taiwan, following the re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen.

NHK reported Tuesday Tokyo said it would “deepen cooperation and exchange with Taiwan” following Tsai’s victory.

On Sunday the Chinese foreign ministry criticized congratulatory messages sent to Tsai from officials in Japan and the United States.

Beijing foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had said in his statement the messages go against the principles of Beijing’s One-China policy.