TOKYO • Japan is to ban government use of telecoms products made by Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE on concerns about cyber security, reports have said.
The government plans to revise internal procurement rules to exclude products made by Huawei and ZTE as early as Monday, the mass circulation Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday.
Jiji Press agency also reported the expected move.
The ban comes after a request by the United States to allies to avoid products made by the two companies over fears that they contain viruses used for cyber attacks, the Yomiuri reported, citing unnamed government sources.
Domestic products that use parts made by the two Chinese firms will also be excluded from government use, it said, adding that the government was not expected to name the companies directly so as to avoid angering China.
Asked about the report, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga declined to comment, adding that Japan was "closely cooperating with the United States" on cyber security issues.
China said that it was seriously concerned about the reports, adding that Huawei and ZTE have been operating legally in Japan for a long time.
"We hope that Japan will provide a level playing field for Chinese companies to operate in Japan," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokes-man Geng Shuang told a regular media briefing. "Do not do anything that would undermine mutual trust and cooperation."
The reports come after the arrest of a top Huawei executive in Canada infuriated China, sending global markets wobbling on fears of intensifying tensions between Beijing and Washington.
The detention of Ms Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, comes after the US authorities reportedly launched an investigation into suspected Iran sanctions violations by Huawei.
The firm was already under scrutiny by US intelligence officials, who have deemed the company a national security threat.
Huawei has been under scrutiny in Washington for more than a decade, and is facing bans for 5G contracts in Australia and New Zealand, both Pacific allies of the US.