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Japan pushes development of 5G and drone technologies amid China growth

Image credit: Tawatchai Prakobkit | Dreamstime

Japan’s cabinet has approved a bill to support companies developing secure 5G mobile networks and drone technologies amid growing alarm among Tokyo policymakers over the increasing influence of China’s 5G technology.

In its current form, the new bill will allow firms that develop such technologies access to low interest rate loans from government-affiliated financial institutions. Such plans, however, will need to fulfil standards on cybersecurity.

According to the bill, companies that adopt 5G technologies can also get tax incentives if they meet standards set by the government.

The Japanese government plans to submit the bill to parliament in time to bring it into effect around summer this year.

In December 2019, the Japanese government unveiled tax measures aimed at encouraging companies to spend their cash reserves on start-ups and other investments while also helping firms to compete with China’s progress in 5G technology.

The US has been waging a campaign against Chinese telecoms firm Huawei, which Washington has warned could be used to spy on customers on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. The US administration has warned that European allies who use communications technology provided by Huawei in their networks put intelligence-sharing relationships at risk.

Huawei has repeatedly denied the claims made by the US. Earlier this week Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye accused the Australian government, which has blacklisted the firm, of discrimination. Jingye told Sky News that the move doesn’t “serve the best interest of Australian companies and consumers”.

While the US and Australia have shut Huawei out of 5G rollout plans, the UK has permitted it to play a limited role in the country’s 5G infrastructure. The decision, however, has caused tensions between the UK and Australia and the US, with reports saying US President Donald Trump lambasted Prime Minister Boris Johnson with “apoplectic rage” over the issue.

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