Japan is tightening the screws on the embattled TikTok, with a top lawmaker suggesting that changing the ownership of the ByteDance-owned short video app’s Japan business could help address mounting data security concerns.
During an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Norihiro Nakayama, a senior member of a group of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) looking into Chinese apps, gave his personal view that ByteDance selling TikTok’s Japanese operations could be an option to ensure safety of Japanese users’ data.
“We want to create an environment in which users can continue using TikTok, in which they can use it safely,” said Nakayama, adding that the group will not seek to ban TikTok if substantial measures are taken.
Meanwhile, Nakayama revealed that he plans to propose a framework that enables scientific verification of the potential data security risks of TikTok and other apps.
It is not the first time that Japanese lawmakers have targeted TikTok citing data security concerns. Last month, Akira Amari, an LDP heavyweight and close ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, urged the Japanese government to take legislative steps to limit the use of TikTok and other Chinese apps due to fears that user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.
Some analysts had previously predicted that the Japanese government would follow in the footsteps of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has ordered a forced sale of TikTok’s U.S. assets, with Microsoft, Twitter and Oracle being possible byers.
TikTok has repeatedly denied allegations that it provides user data to the Chinese government.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (email@example.com)