Japan’s National Security Council has launched a team in charge of economic affairs in response to alleged intellectual property violations and technology theft by China, as well as cyberattacks by North Korea.
The grouping, currently comprised of 10 officials, is expected to be elevated to a full-fledged economic team in April, according to government officials.
It will be the seventh team in the National Security Secretariat, after the coordination team, the strategic planning team, the intelligence team and three teams handling regional affairs.
The move comes as the government has excluded Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp., Chinese telecommunications equipment-makers suspected of having ties with the Chinese government, from public procurement contracts amid concerns about espionage and other security measures.
Japan is also wary about China’s Belt and Road initiative, a major infrastructure project stretching across Asia, Europe and Africa that critics say is intended to draw countries deeper into Beijing’s economic orbit.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government created the NSC in December 2013 to adopt a more comprehensive approach in addressing security issues.
Last September, top intelligence officer Shigeru Kitamura, a former National Police Agency official, replaced Shotaro Yachi, a former vice foreign minister, as secretary general of the NSS.
With the reshuffle, the nation’s top national security post was handed from a former diplomat to an official with a police background.