Japan joins U.S. efforts to secure strategic underwater cables

FPI / May 18, 2020


The top technology issue after 5G is the world’s network of undersea cables, a U.S. government official told a Japanese researcher during a meeting in Washington, D.C. in early March.

The United States has been seeking to exclude China from the network of undersea cables.

As much as 99 percent of communications and data transmitted across the globe are made possible through the undersea cables. If the cables are manipulated or cut off, it would be possible to extract data and obstruct military activities, the official said, according to a May 11 report by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Because of this, the United States has been seeking to exclude China from the network of undersea cables, the report said.

The Trump administration forced a project to construct undersea cables linking the U.S. West Coast with Hong Kong to be halted last year.

U.S. government offices, including the Department of Justice and the State Department, were said to oppose the project for security reasons.

Japan reportedly lags behind in dealing with China’s advances in the field of undersea cables.

The Fund Corporation for the Overseas Development of Japan’s ICT and Postal Services, which was established with joint funding by the private and private sectors and is under the jurisdiction of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, announced in January 2017 that it would invest up to $50.5 million in a project involving NEC and other companies to build an undersea cable linking Guam with Hong Kong.

The United States is trying to build a Guam-centered network of cables linking Australia, Japan and Southeast Asian countries, without a direct connection with China.

During the March meeting the U.S. conveyed its concern about the Guam-Hong Kong link behind the scenes to the Japanese side, but the communications ministry reportedly pushed the project through, the Yomiuri Shimbun report said.

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