What happened: Japan plans to ban government purchases of ZTE and Huawei equipment as part of a revision of its procurement rules. Government officials declined to comment, but have said the country has been communicating with the United States on issues including cybersecurity. Apart from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK have made moves to restrict the Chinese telecom giants’ businesses, citing security issues.
Why it’s important: Despite not explicitly mentioning ZTE and Huawei in the revision, the move highlights a trend among US allies in their increasing awareness of the perceived risks the firms pose. Besides alliance considerations, an individual country’s cybersecurity is another concern which government leaders cannot avoid when rolling out related restrictions. But the trend is not restricted to governments. Private companies are drawing back from close relationships with Huawei and ZTE, highlighting growing distrust in the private and public sectors.