Japan ‘rushing’ to improve defense networks amid Chinese attack concerns

It expects to boost cyber units to about 4,000 by 2027 from approximately 890 in 2022.
By RFA Staff
2024.02.04
Japan ‘rushing’ to improve defense networks amid Chinese attack concerns Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence in Tokyo on Sept. 25, 2013.
Toru Hanai/Reuters

Japan is currently inspecting classified defense networks of major government agencies that have been reportedly compromised by China and “rushing to come up with” countermeasures, according to media reports. 

U.S. daily The Washington Post reported last August that Chinese military hackers had infiltrated the Japanese government’s computer system handling defense secrets. At that time, Tokyo said it was “aware of the report,” but declined to comment. 

But in a Monday report, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun said several government organizations handling classified information agreed to inspect their systems and improve their vulnerable programs.They include: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the National Police Agency, the Public Security Intelligence Agency and the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office.

In order to drastically strengthen cyber defense, the Japanese government aims to introduce “active cyber defense,” which monitors information systems from peacetime to detect signs and prevent serious cyber attacks before they happen.

Japan expects to expand the number of specialized cyber units to approximately 4,000 by the end of 2027 from approximately 890 in 2022.

Although related bills are not likely to be submitted during this regular session of the Diet, the progress has been shared with Washington, which has constantly demanded that Tokyo inspect and improve its defense networks, according to the Yomiuri. 

Over such networks, the government bodies exchange top-secret information obtained by Japanese diplomats from foreign governments and other sources. To prevent outside interception, the information is sent and received via international IPVPN, a closed network that does not involve the normal internet, and uses special encryption, the paper added.

Edited by Elaine Chan and Mike Firn.

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