May 1, 2020
In the evening of April 30 (Thur.), 2020, Mr. Makihara Hideki, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, participated in an Extraordinary G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting via video conference. Participating ministers held discussions on actions against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and confirmed the collaboration among member countries.
This meeting was held in response to a call by Saudi Arabia, the 2020 G20 chair, for the purpose of holding discussions on actions against the expansion of the novel coronavirus disease, in particular, the promising role of digital technologies and ideal approaches to relevant digital policies. This meeting was held via video conference and, as representatives of Japan, State Minister Makihara and Mr. Terada Minoru, State Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, participated in the meeting.
At the meeting, State Minister Makihara stressed the need for carrying out solutions using digital technologies to curb the expansion of COVID-19 and explained Japan’s efforts, including: supporting SMEs in introducing teleworking; promoting video conferences and online remote health and medical consultation services; requesting online platform and other businesses to provide statistical data and other information that would contribute to preventing the expansion of COVID-19; and raising the awareness among industrial players of cyber attacks that are taking advantage of recent confusion. Moreover, he stated the policy concepts, i.e., Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) and the Governance Innovation, which Japan proposed at the G20 meeting in 2019 as mid- to long-term future visions for implementing digital technologies throughout the global economy and society. Following this, he stressed the importance of reviewing ideal approaches to governance and rules in order to strongly promote utilization of digital technologies in parallel with securing trust in privacy, data security and other conditions.
Aiming to overcome COVID-19, the member countries confirmed that they will share their policies, experiences, lessons learned and other information and will encourage industries to make use of digital technologies, and following this, they held discussions on the following issues.
- The need for developing comprehensive infrastructures and networks which are fully open and accessible and the importance of ensuring the proper functioning of these critical networks in times of crisis;
- Encouraging collaboration that makes use of information and data related to COVID-19 that can contribute to understanding and the prevention of further spread of the disease, and the importance of collecting and processing such data while taking into consideration privacy and data security;
- Accelerating progress in developing vaccines and therapies and providing support to health workers by making use of AI and other digital technologies;
- Promoting the development of basic digital skills in companies, public institutions, educational institutes and other organizations and encouraging safe use of a variety of tools that facilitate remote working and learning;
- The importance of preventing cyber-attacks, providing trustworthy information on online platforms and obtaining data security in online environments;
- Encouraging member countries to share their support measures to promote utilization of digital technologies among SMEs; and
- Working with international organizations to develop a menu of policy options as a knowledge asset and endeavoring to share best practices among member countries.