The Japanese government has announced that it will ban telecommunications equipment manufactured by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE amidst fears about cybersecurity.
Huawei has already been prevented from participating in the rollout of 5G in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom after intelligence agencies claimed that the companies posed a risk to national security. US lobbyists have also been proactively advising their allies not to use telecoms equipment being supplied by Huawei and ZTE in their on-going offensive against China.
It has been a turbulent few days for Huawei following the arrest of its CFO in Vancouver last week. The detainment of Meng Wanzhou sparked outrage amongst Chinese officials, who described the arrest as ‘politically motivated’ and said she was being used as a pawn in a trade war between Washington and Beijing.
The decision by the Japanese government was the last thing the embattled Chinese telecommunications vendor needed to hear. In addition to this, a senior EU official weighed in on Huawei, and claimed that all European countries should be worried about Huawei and other Chinese firms.
The Japanese government has said that it plans to revise internal procurement rules to exclude products made by Huawei and ZTE as early as Monday. Domestic products that use parts made by the two Chinese firms will also be excluded from government use, it said.
The Yomiuri said the government was not expected to name the companies directly, so as to avoid angering China. Asked about the report, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga declined to comment, adding Japan was "closely cooperating with the United States" on cybersecurity issues.
China said it was "seriously concerned" about the reports, adding that Huawei and ZTE have been operating legally in Japan for a long time.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “We hope that Japan will provide a level playing field for Chinese companies to operate in Japan. Do not do anything that would undermine mutual trust and cooperation."