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UK and Japan strike digital partnership to collaborate on IoT security, semiconductors

The two countries are also set to align their approaches to digital regulation to make it easier for companies to operate in each nation

The UK and Japan have unveiled a new digital partnership which will see the pair collaborate on a range of digital technologies.

Announced on Wednesday, the partnership aims to deliver on the UK’s plan to increase international collaboration with technology.

It’s set to cover a range of digital issues, including how to improve the resilience of global supply chains, such as with semiconductors, as well as developing research and development projects to share expertise.

The countries are set to promote initiatives to standardise IoT security as well as address the risks of digital services in supply chains. They are also hoping to align their approaches to digital regulation to try and make it easier for organisations to operate in each territory. 

It will also see collaboration between the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) - the UK’s data regulator - and Japanese regulators to help businesses and citizens trust data sharing more between the two countries.

“The UK’s relationship with Japan has grown from strength to strength in recent years based on a foundation of shared goals and values,” said UK digital secretary Michelle Donelan. “Our thriving tech sectors are another opportunity for us to work together to benefit citizens and businesses across both countries. I look forward to deepening our relationship through the UK-Japan digital partnership in the future.”

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The partnership also will see the creation of a UK-Japan Digital Council. It will take the format of an annual meeting between representatives from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) and Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, and the Digital Agency. In the meeting, the officials will discuss new priorities for both countries.

The collaboration also accomplishes the UK’s goal of becoming the European nation with the biggest presence in the Indo-Pacific region, said the government. This part of the world has become more and more important as global tech competition has intensified.

Japan and the UK signed a post-Brexit trade deal in September 2020 which allowed the free flow of data between the nations. The government estimated that it would increase trade with Japan by around £15.2 billion.

It also included a ban on data localisation, meaning that UK companies can operate in Japan without having to have a data residency or local server in the country.

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