Japan has been working to formulate it’s own security clearance process over the past several years. The need for a security clearance system and policies of classification that include the country’s contractors has been a topic of consideration for the National Diet, Japan’s legislative branch, over several sessions. The current session ends June 23 and officials are optimistic that this time new policies around security clearances and classification will be finalized.

There are two bills related to security clearances and classification in the Diet. One specifically addresses obtaining security clearances for individuals, including provisions that clearance eligibility last for 10 years and outlining the information used to consider eligibility. The second bill establishes categories of confidential information and processes for declassifying information.

The creation of a security clearance process has been seen as essential to ensure Japan can continue to compete in international business and collaborate across the intelligence community. Japan is currently the only country in the G7 without a comprehensive security clearance program.

Previous efforts to create a security clearance process have gotten pushed back due to privacy concerns. The current bills are also expected to be debated by privacy advocates, but government officials are emphasizing that privacy concerns have been addressed.

“I would like to carefully explain, including through deliberations in the Diet, that we will firmly implement provisions that give full consideration to the right to privacy, protection of personal information and freedom of the press, ”Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said.

Japan’s security clearance process is a positive step to continue to combat China’s vast and widespread influence, and the issue of critical information in both the Japanese government and private industry being attacked.


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