Economic Security Study Group released "2021 Fiscal Year End Report".
Against the backdrop of high-tech friction between the U.S. and China, there is growing attention to economic security. The Japanese government has approved an economic security bill in the Cabinet and submitted it to the Diet. The basic directions are as follows: (1) improve self-reliance (eliminate vulnerabilities in core infrastructure and supply chains), (2) ensure superiority and indispensability (improve technological and industrial competitiveness by strengthening R&D, etc., and prevent technology leakage), and (3) maintain and strengthen the international order based on fundamental values and rules.
One of the most important issues is to strengthen R&D capabilities to ensure Japan's superiority and indispensability. In the U.S. and China, core technologies related to semiconductors and telecommunications, as well as emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning, are subject to export control, and both countries are making efforts to improve their technological capabilities as a priority of their industrial technology policies. The confrontational structure between the U.S. and China has sharpened the movement toward decoupling from reliance on the other country's technologies.
In Japan, on the other hand, the economic security perspective is being considered in individual policy goals, such as trade management policies and comprehensive innovation strategies for security purposes. The U.S., as a security ally, and China, which is becoming more and more important economically, are both important states to Japan, and there is no way to prioritize one over the other diplomatically. In addition, as the confrontation between the U.S. and China becomes more acute, relations with third countries, such as those in Europe, and India are also important.
In any case, based on the premise that a country's advanced technological capabilities can create an advantageous diplomatic position, and given Japan's current advanced technological capabilities, it is necessary to consider what kind of technologies Japan should invest in from the perspective of mid- to long-term economic security, and what kind of technology policy it should pursue.
In fiscal year 2021, our Study Group took up AI/machine learning, quantum computers, and next-generation communication technologies, and examined them from the perspective of ensuring Japan's superiority and indispensability, especially related to the abovementioned (2), and compiled recommendations.