Japan is preparing new regulations to ban Chinese telecoms equipment vendors Huawei and ZTE from bidding for government contacts, Reuters reported.

Such a move would make Japan the latest country to yield to US pressure to block the use of Chinese equipment on security grounds.

The Yomiuri newspaper said the government was expected to update its procurement rules as early as next week.

The US in August banned government agencies and contractors from using equipment from the two companies which are based in Shenzhen.

In late August officials responsible for cybersecurity in the Japanese government’s Cabinet Office reportedly were conducting a study to determine if additional regulations are needed to reduce security risks from using network equipment from Chinese companies.

Rising pressure
The US has long pushed its allies to avoid using Chinese gear in their telecoms networks over perceived concerns about intelligence leaks and cyber attacks, with Australia and New Zealand blocking the companies from their 5G network deployments.

Huawei has endured one of its most difficult weeks ever, with its CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, arrested in Vancouver on suspicion of violating trade sanctions imposed on Iran by the US. Various media reported HSBC flagged suspicious financial dealings used to avoid the sanctions, which were uncovered by a US investigation.

The arrest came just a day after Huawei suffered another big blow, with UK giant BT planning to remove all its equipment from its mobile arm EE’s core 4G network within two years.