Japan government weighs A.I. adoption as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman visits Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

OpenAI logo displayed on a phone screen and ChatGPT website displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on December 5, 2022.
Jakub Porzycki | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Japan will consider government adoption of artificial intelligence technology such as OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot if privacy and cybersecurity concerns are resolved, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday.

The remarks from Matsuno, the top government spokesperson, came shortly before Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a visit to Japan, where Altman said his company is "looking at opening an office."

"We hope to ... build something great for Japanese people, make the models better for Japanese language and Japanese culture," Altman told reporters following his meeting with Kishida.

Asked about Italy's temporary ban on ChatGPT — developed by Microsoft backed OpenAI — Matsuno told a regular news conference that Japan is aware of other countries' actions.

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Japan will continue evaluating possibilities of introducing AI to reduce government workers' workload after assessing how to respond to concerns such as data breaches, Matsuno said.

Following Italy's restriction of ChatGPT, which inspired other European countries to study such measures, OpenAI last week presented measures to remedy privacy breach concerns to the Italian regulator.

In a blog post last week entitled "Our approach to AI safety," the San Francisco-based company said it was working to develop "nuanced policies against behavior that represents a genuine risk to people."

OpenAI CEO Altman said he told Japan's Kishida about "the upsides of this technology and how to mitigate the downsides" at the Monday meeting in Tokyo.