Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Sato Attends the G7 Digital and Technology Ministers' Meeting (Online Conference)
April 30, 2021
On April 28 (Wed.) and 29 (Thu.), Mr. Sato Kei, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, attended the G7 Digital and Technology Ministers' Meeting, which was held online. The ministers discussed the directions for the actions that each country should take in using digital technology to build a resilient and more productive society, and adopted a Ministerial Declaration.
Chaired by the UK, the G7 Digital and Technology Ministers' Meeting was held under the theme "Building Back Better". The discussion covered the following six fields: (1) ICT infrastructure supply chains, (2) developing digital technology standards, (3) Data Free Flow with Trust (hereinafter referred to as DFFT), (4) improving Internet security, (5) ensuring fair competition in the digital market, and (6) digitalization of trade business procedures.
Parliamentary Vice-Minister Sato and Minister Takeda (Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications) attended the online meeting.
During the meeting, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Sato spoke about how it will be important for each nation to work together to further promote DFFT—a concept that Japan advocated at the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019—based on the G7 Roadmap for Cooperation on DFFT, in order to accelerate its implementation.
He also introduced some of Japan's efforts regarding the ICT infrastructure that supports data flow (including tax support for the development of 5G mobile base stations based on open architecture such as O-RAN), and stated that Japan will work toward establishing a diverse and sustainable ICT supply chain market.
He also stressed the importance of the G7 taking a central role in establishing flexible, "agile governance" that combines addressing risks and creating innovation in order to develop a sound digital market.
Based on these discussions, the ministers adopted the following message as the Ministerial Declaration: all G7 countries—which share the same democratic values—will cooperate in using digital technology to build a resilient, productive society while advancing recovery from COVID-19 for all societal sectors.
The main details of the Ministerial Declaration are as follows:
- Recognize the roles that will be played by ICT infrastructure and similar technologies (including 5G and future communication technologies), and the importance of ensuring they are safe and resilient. Promote innovation and start to examine open, interoperable communication architectures.
- Oppose any approaches that involve governmental control regarding the development of digital technology standards, and support industry-led, inclusive, multi-stakeholder approaches.
- The ability to move data across borders is essential for economic growth and innovation. In order to achieve DFFT—which was also mentioned in the 2019 G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration—a roadmap was created aimed at the following concrete outcomes: i) impact assessment of data localization, ii) comparative analysis of national policies regarding cross-border data transfer, iii) formulation of guidelines for reliable government access, and iv) promotion of mutual data sharing.
- Endorse basic principles and specific actions towards improving online safety, and recognize that Internet literacy needs to be improved so that people can make safe choices online.
- Competitive digital markets can drive innovation and increase consumers' choices. However, there is also concern that large companies can abuse their positions of power. A meeting of government officials will be held to discuss areas of future cooperation.
- Digitalizing trade procedures will improve efficiency and reduce costs. Dialogue between experts will be initiated in order to support revisions of domestic systems that are compatible with other legal systems, and action by other international fora.
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