Would Japan Follow India and the U.S. in Banning TikTok and other Chinese Apps?

Not very long ago, in June, India decided to bid goodbye to TikTok along with many other Chinese apps. The U.S., too, has been thinking on the same lines owing to security concerns. According to the latest piece of information, it looks like Japan would be following suit by seeking a ban on TikTok.

NHK, the Japanese national news broadcaster, was the first one to report this news. The Japanese lawmakers are worried about security issues concerning user data information breaches by the Beijing government officials. A similar concern was expressed by India and the U.S. too. The concerned Japanese officials are likely to draft a proposal and submit it to the Japanese government by September. 

In case this happens, Japan would become the third country to eliminate these Chinese apps. Last month, India, where TikTok had a huge fan following, sought a ban on the same along with 59 other China-based apps. Furthermore, the Indian government is likely to ban 275 more apps in the future, including all Chinese-origin and their clones. U.S. President Donald Trump is also on the verge of banning TikTok pretty soon in the country.

It may be important to note here that TikTok’s initial success in a foreign land was attained in Japan. TikTok’s international triumph was unexpected during that time since its understanding was a little out of bounds for foreign internet companies. It was only after the Japanese T.V. personality, Kinoshita Yukina, agreed to arrive on TikTok’s platform after about six to seven rounds of talks with her studio, there was some advancement. After seeing her participation, other stars with a lot of fans also came on board. 

According to research firm App Annie, TikTok has always figured on the top amongst the entertainment apps on the Japanese iOS store. It also ranks fifth in the list of the most downloaded apps in Japan. 

When asked for a response regarding Japan considering a ban on TikTok, a spokesperson from the video-making social networking firm stated that the app has no connection to the Chinese government control. He said that “There’s a lot of misinformation about TikTok out there. TikTok has an American CEO, a Chief Information Security Officer with decades of industry, U.S. military, and law enforcement experience, and a U.S. team that works diligently to develop a best-in-class security infrastructure. Four of our parent company’s five board seats are controlled by some of the world’s best-respected global investors. TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S. and Singapore, with strict controls on employee access.”


Some other Chinese tech firms have set their eyes on Japan for a long time now. Simeji, a free Japanese input keyboard, is operated by Baidu, again a Chinese tech giant. Although Line is the main app used for chatting in Japan, there is also WeChat, again a Chinese app, which is required for running businesses in the country. Likewise, many such apps are essential for Japan. Another important aspect here is that China and Japan have been trading for quite some time now. Although the Indian government’s ban on Chinese apps has been a major setback for the Chinese government, Japan does seem to be a lucrative market for China to run its businesses. 

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