Fearing National Security, Japan to Remove China from its Drone Supply Chain

In the interest of national security, Japan may go ahead and cut-off China from its drone supply chain. This news comes from six people in the Japanese government and the ruling party, who are well-versed with this information. The government is taking all of these efforts in a bid to strengthen the security of its nation. 

According to the concerned government officials, the main concerns towards protecting national security were directed towards information technology-related stuff apart from monitoring the supply chain process, paying heed towards cyber security, and intellectual property protection. 

However, Japan needs to strike a balance between bowing down in front of Beijing’s insistence for taking China’s help in obtaining highly important and confidential technological stuff like commercial drones or cameras made for security-related purposes. Moreover, Japan is also dependent on China from an economic perspective. 

Another thing to keep in mind for Japan is the increasing tensions between China and the United States in many aspects. Incidentally, the US also happens to be an ally of Japan. 

A Japanese senior government official went on to say, “China is a big market and it is important for Japan. On the other hand, there are worries that advanced technologies and information could leak to China and could be diverted for military use.”

Hundreds of drones are a part of the Japanese defense ministry. Out of these, many drones have been manufactured by companies based in China. Likewise, the Japanese coast guard has about 30 drones, out of which most of them have come from China. However, both the Japanese defense ministry and the Japanese coast guard have stated that they are not making use of any drones coming in from China for matters where security is concerned. 

So far, it is unknown whether all of the Chinese origin drones would be replaced. According to the latest updated security policies, security checks would be conducted on the latest drones, which would be used for important and confidential tasks like looking into criminal activities, infrastructure-related tasks, and emergency rescue operations. All these drones would be subjected to go through strict surveillance methodologies. These are done to ensure that no information leaks out from these drones. 

All of these rules would be coming into force from April 2021. However, there is no mention of any country within these policies. However, the senior government officials and the concerned people within the ruling party have stated that all of these policies have been designed for China only. 

However, Japanese drone manufacturers are quite pleased if this move works out as it only means they would be getting more business. 

Tokyo Aircraft Instrument Co Ltd, a local drone manufacturer, has manufactured a drone with a camera capable of flying in severe conditions like strong winds, making it easier to conduct an aerial survey post any disaster. 

Kazuya Sumida, who is in charge of the drones manufactured by the firm, went on to say, “The drone platform, flight-control system and radio communication equipment are all domestic-made, and it is our unique model based on our years of experience in avionics components. We plan to further enhance the security of the drone’s information and communications functions.”

However, this move is directed towards maintaining the country’s national security, rather than improving the businesses of local drone manufacturers, say the concerned government officials.

Analysts have also predicted that it is impossible for Japan to fully oust China as there would be a direct hit on the US economy factor owing to the same. 

Japan has saved about 300 billion yen to broaden its supply chain aspects to reduce Chinese dependency by increasing production locally. It is also looking towards more business opportunities in Southeast Asia.

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