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Key Japanese lawmaker follows in Trump's footsteps on TikTok ownership

Lianna Brinded
·Head of Yahoo Finance UK
·2 mins read
In this photo illustration a TikTok logo is seen displayed on a smartphone with a ByteDance logo on the background. Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Microsoft is in talks to buy operations for TikTok in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Japan is following in the footsteps of the US by stating that video social media platform TikTok can address security concerns over the app, if it changes ownership of its Japanese operation.

Norihiro Nakayama, a senior member the ruling Liberal Democratic Party led by prime minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party, said he and the group of lawmakers charged with looking into Chinese apps would not seek to ban TikTok and others if substantial measures are taken to ensure protection of user data.

He stressed that ideas about change in ownership of TikTok’s Japanese operation is currently his personal opinion and not that of the group.

“We want to create an environment in which users can continue using TikTok, in which they can use it safely,” he said to Reuters.

READ MORE: Microsoft reveals talks to buy TikTok US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

Chinese tech firm ByteDance, whose last valuation of $78bn (£61bn) makes it the world's most valuable start-up, is behind the app that is dominating the lives of millennials and generation Z. It only launched in September 2016 but, outside China, it has already amassed 300 million active users and 1.4 billion total installs to date.

Nakayama’s comments follow closely after US president Donald Trump’s strident approach towards TikTok.

On 3 August, Microsoft (MSFT) confirmed in a statement that it is not only in talks to buy US operations for TikTok, but also in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The US tech giant said in a lengthy blog post on its site that it is exploring a “preliminary proposal” to purchase the TikTok service in those countries which “would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets.” It added that Microsoft “may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.”

READ MORE: What TikTok talks with Microsoft mean for UK and London HQ

It added that it aims to complete these discussions no later than 15 September this year. Trump only agreed to allow Microsoft to negotiate the acquisition if it could secure a deal in 45 days.

On Wednesday, Trump gave his blessing for technology company Oracle to enter the running to buy TikTok. He said at a speech in Yuma, Arizona in the US that Oracle would be a “great company” to take over TikTok’s US operations.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Nakayama and the group of fellow lawmakers looking to compile a set of proposals on Chinese apps are set to publish those findings on 10 September.