In this Sept. 26, 2018, photo, visitors walk past a display from Chinese technology firm ZTE at the PT Expo in Beijing. A spy chief said in a speech released Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, that Australia's critical infrastructure including electricity grids, water supplies and hospitals could not have been adequately safeguarded if Chinese-owned telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE Corp. had been allowed to become involved in rolling out the nation's 5G network. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

INTERNATIONAL – Japan’s big three telecoms operators plan not to use network equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE, Kyodo News reported on Monday.

The plan applies to current equipment as well as upcoming fifth-generation (5G) gear, Kyodo reported without citing sources.

Japan plans to ban government purchases of equipment from Huawei and ZTE to ensure strength in its defences against intelligence leaks and cyber attacks, sources told Reuters last week.

Representatives of the three telcos, NTT Docomo, KDDI  and SoftBank Group, were not immediately available to comment on the report when contacted by Reuters.

Huawei has already been locked out of the US market and Australia and New Zealand have blocked it from building 5G networks amid concerns of possible links the firm has with China’s government. Huawei has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it.

Markets have been reeling after the news last week that Canadian officials had arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer for extradition to the United States, sparking fears the arrest would throw up another hurdle to the resolution of a trade war between the world’s biggest two economies.

SoftBank, which has a long relationship with Huawei and has partnered the firm in 5G trials, was the biggest decliner among the three telcos on Monday. Its shares closed down 3.5 percent ahead of the Kyodo report, over concerns about the impact a backlash against Huawei could have on its business.

The benchmark index closed down 2 percent.

Reuters