TOKYO: Japan plans to ban government purchases of equipment from China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE, to beef up its defences against intelligence leaks and cyber attacks, sources told Reuters.
The Yomiuri newspaper, which first reported the news earlier on Friday (Dec 7), said the government was expected to revise its internal rules on procurement as early as Monday.
The government does not plan to specifically name Huawei and ZTE in the revision, but will put in place measures aimed at strengthening security that apply to the companies, a person with direct knowledge and a person briefed on the matter said.
The move follows a decision by the United States this year to ban government purchases of Huawei gear.
US intelligence agencies allege Huawei is linked to China's government and that its equipment could contain "backdoors" for use by spies, although no evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has denied the claims.
Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, the 46-year-old daughter of the company's founder, was detained in Canada on Dec 1.
The arrest was made at Washington's request as part of a US investigation of an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade US sanctions against Iran, according to people familiar with the probe.
In addition, Australia and New Zealand have blocked Huawei from building 5G networks, while Britain's BT Group said on Wednesday it was removing Huawei's equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile operations and would not use the Chinese company in central parts of the next network.
Japan's chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, declined to comment. But he noted that the country has been in close communication with the US on a wide range of areas, including cybersecurity.
"Cybersecurity is becoming an important issue in Japan," he told a regular news conference. "We'll take firm measures looking at it from a variety of perspectives."