National

Japanese lawmakers seek tougher regulations on Chinese-made apps

Kyodo

A group of ruling party lawmakers said Tuesday they plan to call on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government to restrict the use in Japan of apps developed by Chinese companies due to security concerns.

Akira Amari, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party group on regulatory policy, said Japan must prevent personal data from leaking via applications originating from China, alluding to popular video-sharing app TikTok.

The push to curb the use of Chinese-owned apps follows similar moves abroad. India banned TikTok along with 58 other applications last month, while U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is debating whether to follow suit.

TikTok, which lets users upload short videos, has proved to be a hit with younger people and has grown popular as a way to pass the time amid the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year it surpassed 2 billion downloads, according to estimates by SensorTower Inc.

But there are concerns that the app's owner, Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., could pass on data it collects to the Chinese government.

"When looking at IT devices and software in this day and age, we have to be even more aware of how information is being collected and used," Amari told reporters after the LDP group held a meeting in Tokyo.

The lawmakers plan to submit a set of recommendations to the government, including the addition of wording regarding national security concerns to the existing telecommunications law.

The United States and its allies have stepped up their criticism of China's government following the implementation of a new national security law in Hong Kong, a move that many fear will erode human rights and freedoms.

Under China's "one country, two systems" policy, Hong Kong was promised it would enjoy the rights and freedoms of a semiautonomous region for 50 years following the former British colony's return to Chinese rule in 1997.

There have been calls from within the LDP, of which Abe is leader, to retract Japan's invitation for Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit as a state guest, citing the Hong Kong issue and Beijing's increased claims over a group of Japan-administered islets in the East China Sea.

Coronavirus banner