Japan Defense Ministry rolls out 1st policy to promote AI use

On July 2, 2024, the Japanese Defense Ministry unveiled its groundbreaking basic policy aimed at embracing artificial intelligence (AI) integration to adapt to the evolving landscapes of defense operations influenced by technological growth. The policy is also designed to expedite the ministry’s internal administrative processes. The blueprint designates seven key sectors for strategic AI application, such as military target detection and identification, command and control management, logistic support, information gathering, analysis, unmanned defense assets management, cybersecurity, and work efficiency enhancements.

At a press conference in Tokyo, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara underscored foreign nations’ ongoing AI utilization endeavors and acknowledged the potential risk of AI playing a decisive role in determining the course of future military conflicts. The policy highlights additional benefits, including accelerating combat operations, mitigating human errors, and promoting efficiency via automation.

The policy however, acknowledges limitations in employing AI, particularly in uncommon or unprecedented situations, considering AI relies on past data as a learning basis. Consequently, concerns about credibility issues and misuse persist as well.

Simultaneously with the AI policy rollout, the Japanese Ministry of Defense presented a strategic talent acquisition plan focusing on recruiting cyberspace experts, with active hiring expected to commence starting from April 2025 as an independent category. Minister Kihara emphasized the importance of international cooperation, active communication, and the need to recognize risks associated with AI implementation while establishing measures to overcome its shortcomings.

The policy aims to prepare Japan for adopting “new forms of battle” encompassing AI and cyber technologies, facing it with the challenge of refining its defense capabilities accordingly. The policy announcement coincides with pertinent discussions surrounding China’s influence and regional stability at the Italian G7 summit. Additionally, the summit has expressed collective concern about Russia-North Korea’s military collaboration.

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