Australia, Japan protect technology secrets in schools

Australia, Japan protect technology secrets in schools - Photo 1.

Australia, Japan, and the US are attractive destinations for foreign students – Photo: REUTERS

Tight control

According to the newspaper South China Moring Post On January 15, the areas Japan considers sensitive include artificial intelligence (AI), quantum cryptography and drone technology in civil and military applications.

A Chinese student surnamed Wang believes that the above regulations are understood to be aimed at Chinese students.

In November 2021, Australia published a list of 63 “critical technologies” that need to be promoted and protected, further tightening the information that foreign partners can access. These technologies include 5G communication, quantum technology, AI, 3D printing, drones, vaccines…

In 2019, Australia released draft guidelines to prevent foreign actors’ interference in Australian universities. Some of the proposed measures include training students to recognize foreign interference and report it to the authorities.

The move has resulted in a 7.5 per cent drop in the number of Chinese students studying abroad in Australia since 2019, according to Education Minister Alan Tudge.

In 2021, Japan announced that universities must obtain permission from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry before teaching important technologies to foreign students who have lived in Japan for more than 6 months.

New guidelines scheduled to be published this year will further push these measures, including requiring universities and research institutes to be more open to publicity and clamping down on potential research groups for further outreach. continue to receive funding.

The draft guidelines would require researchers to report to the university when they receive funding from external organisations. Schools will also be responsible for investigating relationships between foreign students and foreign governments.

Difficult to do

Although universities have tightened procedures, many difficult problems have arisen. Specifically, only 62.5% of universities in Japan screen students before recruiting, 39.4% said that they warn foreign students not to bring technology that can be used for other purposes. military return home.

Because schools and professors cannot know all the relationships that each foreign student has. To comply with the new regulations, schools need more professional help with paperwork.

Some technologies, such as remote sensing, are difficult to distinguish between military and civilian purposes, making it difficult to classify at first.

Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi, a project assistant at the University of Tokyo’s Advanced Research Center for Science and Technology, said Japan’s concerns are justified because of its many advanced scientific and technological research. can be used for military purposes.

Due to geopolitical tensions, there are many key reasons why Japan does not want these technologies to fall into the hands of countries that could use them against Japanese interests.

Recently, escalating US-China competition has required Tokyo to re-examine the weaknesses of Japan’s system, re-establishing its rules of thumb, said Satoru Nagao, a researcher at the Washington-based Hudson Institute. sensitive technology”, especially if Tokyo hopes to continue working with the US and its allies.

Observers say efforts to restrict the teaching of sensitive technologies to foreign students could further erode the competitiveness of Japanese universities.

However, the consequences of not having additional safeguards are far greater.


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