AI Takes Japan News Cycle By Storm
AI is hot right, but Japan has not yet passed any major legislation specific to it. However, with the buzz of ChatGPT sweeping world news as well as domestic headlines, there are movements within the LDP to create AI-specific legislation. MP Akihisa Shiozaki is one of the members of the LDP at the forefront of AI (and web3, and IT in general) developments, and he and his collaborators inside Nagatacho have recently released a white paper outlining issues and opportunities that they suggest Japan should pursue.
All official documents can be found on Shiozaki-sensei’s Note page, and there are presentations on the matter hosted on MP Masaaki Taira’s official website, but they are somewhat lengthy and technical documents. We thought that we’d condense the contents into an easily digestible post for the public to engage with.
At a glance, the proposals look to be forward-thinking and positive. However, this is just the beginning and we should continue monitoring how the LDP approaches crafting AI policy.
Overview of the White Paper
In April 2023, the LDP Digital Society Promotion Headquarters AI Project Team published a White Paper on AI that shows the policy proposals of a group of MPs who have been tasked with formulating the ruling party’s strategy for AI adoption. The White Paper emphasizes the need for a new, comprehensive AI strategy to compete internationally. Japan currently ranks 29th out of 63 countries in digital competitiveness, which has prompted the government to take action. The White Paper proposes 5 pillars of concrete action in order to strengthen Japan’s AI policy.
Developing a New National AI Strategy
Japan must establish a “command tower” for AI policies, incorporating domestic and foreign expertise to review policies related to R&D, economic structure, social infrastructure, human resource development, and national security.
Nurturing and Strengthening Japan’s AI Development Capacity
Japan must invest in domestic AI model development, talent cultivation, and data resource aggregation. Establishing an “AI hub” will facilitate information exchange and community building. Addressing data bias in AI and enriching training data for source code generation are also crucial.
Advancing Deep Utilization of AI in Government
Japan aims to harness AI in administration by learning from international use cases, initiating pilot projects, conducting hackathons, and developing guidelines. A specialized team (AI Implementation Support Team) will help government agencies adopt AI.
Encouraging and Supporting the Utilization of AI in the Private Sector
Urgent research on the impact of AI on domestic industries is needed, alongside support for startups and cloud migration. Appointing Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) in private and public institutions can aid in AI utilization and data handling. AI governance guidelines and reskilling programs are also necessary.
A New Approach to AI Regulations
Japan must examine AI regulations in foreign countries and consider legal measures to address significant risks posed by AI in areas like human rights, national security, and democratic processes. The nation should also actively engage in international discussions on AI rules.
A Time for Action
To adapt regulations for the AI era, Japan must establish mechanisms for revising analog regulations, improve existing regulatory reform procedures, and consider guidelines for intellectual property laws related to generative AI.
Lastly, the government must integrate AI literacy into public education curricula and establish guidelines for AI usage in classrooms to prepare for the AI-native era.
Note: This White Paper is not a bill under consideration, but shows the likely direction of future policy