Japan on Monday added medical fields to the list of domestic industrial sectors subject to foreign investment restrictions to maintain domestic control over cutting-edge technologies including those related to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The tighter controls on pharmaceutical products and advanced medical equipment under the foreign exchange and foreign trade law will take effect on July 15, the Finance Ministry said.

The foreign investment regulations already cover a dozen sectors including nuclear power, arms production and cybersecurity.

A clinical laboratory technician wearing protective gear carries out PCR testing for the new coronavirus at Hokkaido University Hospital in Hokkaido on May 15, 2020. (Kyodo) 

The law requires foreign investors to notify the government in advance if they plan to obtain a stake of 1 percent or higher in 558 designated Japanese firms in regulated sectors. In a tightening earlier this month, the threshold was lowered from 10 percent.

Overseas investors are exempted from the prior notification requirement if they plan to buy stocks of such firms simply for asset management purposes so as not to deter direct investment in Japan.

The designated companies include Toyota Motor Corp., Sony Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp.

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