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Japan Joins International Export Control Initiative to Combat Technology-Driven Human Rights Abuses

Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

The Japanese government has announced its decision to be part of an international export control framework to prevent the spread of technologies that could be used for human rights abuses.

The story was reported in the Yomiuri Shimbun.

The US-led Export Controls and Human Rights Initiative seeks to curb the proliferation of artificial facial recognition systems, surveillance cameras, and related technologies in authoritarian states such as China and Russia.

Japan plans to inform the U.S. of its participation policy during the second Democracy Summit, which will be held online on November 29 and 30.

The export controls will include spyware-related technologies in response to reports of China’s use of surveillance technology against the Uighur minority.

Participating countries have been working to develop a voluntary code of conduct that will serve as a standard for export controls.

Although the code will not be legally binding, it will allow for discussions on possible agreements on a list of restricted items.

The Japanese government is expected to propose a licensing system to export technologies that could be misused and stricter screening for exports to countries with the potential for human rights abuses.

Japan already regulates exports of materials and technologies that could be weaponized under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law.

Nearly ten countries, primarily G7 nations such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada, are expected to participate in the framework.

As the chair of the G7, Japan seeks to emphasize its stance on human rights.

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