National

Japan enacts high-tech 'super city' bill

Jiji

The Diet enacted a bill Wednesday to create “super cities” where artificial intelligence, big data and other technologies are utilized to resolve social problems.

The bill revising the national strategic special zone law passed the House of Councilors by a majority vote with support mainly from the ruling coalition.

The revision stipulates procedures to speed up the changing of regulations in various fields to facilitate the creating of such smart cities.

The government hopes to utilize cutting-edge technologies to address issues such as depopulation and the aging of society.

In such cities, data-linking platforms to collect and organize various kinds of data from administrative organizations and companies will be established for autonomous driving, cashless payments, telemedicine and other services.

Under the revised law, local governments to be selected will launch forums with the central government and private companies, draw up city development plans and make applications to the state after winning understanding from local residents.

The government hopes to realize such city development plans swiftly after discussions at related government agencies.

There are concerns about the use of personal information because various kinds of data will be gathered and used in such cities.

Last year, the government submitted a similar bill to the Diet. But it later scrapped the measure following calls for reviewing the bill from the ruling bloc.

It modified parts of the bill for reintroduction during the current ordinary session.

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