• Jiji, Kyodo

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Japan, the United States, Australia and India on Tuesday agreed on the need for democratic countries to strengthen their cooperation in developing advanced technologies, apparently to counter China's rise in the field.

Ministers and other representatives from the "Quad" nations reached the agreement at an international meeting hosted by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), an independent commission of the U.S. Congress that makes recommendations to the U.S. president and Congress.

The participants worked to deepen the ties in the Quad framework in the run-up to a summit the four nations' leaders aim to hold in autumn this year.

"Today, emerging technologies such as the internet of things, 5G, artificial intelligence, and quantum technology not only produce economic benefits but have the potential to affect civil liberties, human rights and even national security," science and technology minister Shinji Inoue said as he attended the event in Washington virtually.

"It is very important for the Quad countries … which share common values, to cooperate in emerging technologies so that sustainable, inclusive, resilient economic growth can be promoted in the Indo-Pacific region," he said.

Eric Lander, director of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, K. VijayRaghavan, principal scientific adviser to the Indian government, and Michael Pezzullo, secretary of the Department of Home Affairs in Australia, also joined the conference.

Expressing wariness about China's growing influence over developing countries in the research and development of AI and other cutting-edge technologies, Lander stressed the need to work with such countries by recruiting prospective talents widely from around the world.

Lander said he hopes that the Quad countries will tackle both "exciting upsides" and "problematic downsides" of emerging technologies including AI.

"Democracies are prepared to talk about both of those things. How do we make this work for people, for creating jobs? How do we make it work for fairness and equity as well?," he asked.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has emphasized the importance of the Quad framework of cooperation in opposing threats from China. The first-ever Quad summit was held online in March this year.

Japan, the United States, Australia and India have agreed to set up a task force regarding advanced technologies. They also plan to work together to devise international standards related to AI and 5G high-speed wireless technologies. The NSCAI drew up a report that is expected to form the foundation for such strategies of competition against China.

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