Japan is planning to halt government purchases of equipment from China’s two largest telecommunications firms, Huawei and ZTE, amid security concerns, Yomiuri Shimbun reported Friday.
The Japanese newspaper said that the changes to procurement rules could come as soon as Monday and noted that the decision followed a similar move from the United States, as well as Washington’s urging that its allies follow suit.
While the new rules will effectively ban equipment from Huawei and ZTE, the two companies will not be named explicitly in the policy to avoid stoking tensions with Beijing, the report said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang expressed “grave concern” about the reports at a press briefing on Friday.
“We hope that Japan can provide a fair competitive environment for Chinese companies operating in Japan, and avoid doing anything that harms mutual trust and cooperation,” Geng said.
The report comes amid a flurry of troubling headlines for Huawei, which is at the forefront of a race to roll out 5G mobile networks around the globe. Following the arrest of Huawei’s CFO in Canada, the UK’s BT Group announced this week that it will remove Huawei equipment from existing networks and will not use the firm for 5G.
Australia and New Zealand have already said they will not use Huawei for 5G networks.