Japan mulls legislating "security clearance" system in 2024

Japan is looking to legislate a "security clearance" system, which grants some individuals special access to classified government data, in 2024 to prevent critical information from leaking to overseas entities, a government source said Saturday.

The move comes as 'dual-use' technology, in which cutting-edge innovation developed by private businesses can be used for military purposes, has been expanded. The plan is expected to be included in the country's revised economic security bill next year.

Security clearance is likely to be necessary for information ranging from economic sanctions to cyber and space policies, with the Japanese government also considering introducing penalties for data breaches, the source said.

Japan's security clearance system would be modeled after that utilized in the United States, which categorizes information into different levels.

In Japan, concerns have been growing that domestic companies have missed out on business opportunities because they have been excluded from joint research endeavors overseas due to the lack of clear security clearance protocols.

While the government had planned to codify a clearance clause within a bill for enhancing economic security passed in May last year, it was struck down after some opposition parties expressed fears over the system potentially being an invasion of privacy.

During the screening process to be selected for access to classified data, individuals could have a wide range of personal information scrutinized, such as their travel histories, criminal records and financial situations.

© Kyodo News