Lawmakers from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party have decided to push for steps to restrict the use of Chinese-owned video app TikTok, concerned that user data may end up in the hands of the Chinese government, public broadcaster NHK said.
Proposals for a possible ban are expected by September this year and the party wants measures to be taken to prevent personal information from being leaked in ways the government doesn’t expect.
A group of lawmakers led by former economy minister Akira Amari made the decision at a meeting on Tuesday and plans to submit a proposal to the government as early as September, NHK reported on Tuesday evening.
The move makes Japan the third country, after India and the US to crack down on Chinese apps. While India has already banned 59 Chinese apps and 47 of their clones, the government is reportedly considering a list of 275 more apps that it may ban in future. Earlier reports said that the issue is under consideration at the home ministry right now.
TikTok, owned by Beijing Byte Dance Technology Co, is facing scrutiny in the United States over concerns that China could force the company to turn over its user data. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said this month action was imminent to address national security risks posed by TikTok.
TikTok has said that it has never provided user data to China and that it would not do so if asked.
The app is also under scrutiny in Australia over potential risks to data privacy, while in India, it was banned in late June along with 58 other Chinese-origin apps considered a threat to national security.
Indian platforms like Roposo have benefitted from the bans, but market data suggests that the majority of the benefit may have gone to global firms. Experts in the industry have said that Indian apps aren’t mature enough in terms of their backends and monetization aspects, which makes global platforms like YouTube and Instagram more favourable for influencers and users.