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Huawei holds talks with Japanese authorities over ban

The vendor said it aims to increase purchases of key components from Japanese suppliers this year

Chinese vendor Huawei is cooperating with the Japanese government and bolstering purchases of parts in Japan to ease concerns that its products could be used in espionage or cyber-attacks by the Chinese government, Huawei said in a release.

“It is just normal for the government, telecommunications companies and society at large to take an interest in security and the protection of privacy,” said Wang Jianfeng, president of Huawei Technologies Japan.

Wang said he believes the Japanese government’s decision to effectively ban ministries and agencies from buying Chinese telecommunications equipment starting in fiscal 2019 “is not targeted at specific companies.”

Wang also confirmed that Huawei is holding talks with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry regarding the ban.

The executive said that Japan is a key market for Huawei in terms of procuring core parts for its products. The company spent an estimated JPY 670 billion ($6.06 billion) in the acquisition of core parts in the Japanese market in 2018, up 40% compared to the previous year. Huawei will further bolster such purchases in 2019, Wang said. The company has already opened a new research and development center in Osaka Prefecture to strengthen its ties with Japanese suppliers, he added.

In December, the Japanese government implemented a ban on government purchases of equipment from Chinese vendors Huawei Technologies and ZTE, with the aim of preventing intelligence leaks and cyberattacks.

The Japanese ban will cover purchases of personal computers, servers and telecommunications equipment by the government and defense agencies. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the new rules were not targeting any particular company.

Japan’s three telecom operators, NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank, also planned to follow the government’s move by not using equipment from the two Chinese companies in their current networks and upcoming 5G gear, according to recent press reports. However, the three telcos previously told Reuters they had not made any decisions yet.

Apart from Japan, other countries including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand have already taken certain steps to block or limit purchases of network equipment from Huawei and ZTE, over security allegations.

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