Japan to increase its Cyber Defense: NATO and CCDCOE

Japan to increase its Cyber Defense: NATO and CCDCOE 

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Japan is finally waking up to the importance of increasing the Cyber Defense of this nation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is especially concerned about protecting the Japanese Self Defense Forces and other important areas related to national security. For example, nuclear power installations and so forth. Hence, with Japan increasing its military budget and watching events between America, China, the Russian Federation, and others – sometimes based on truth and other times propaganda in all directions – then Japan seeks to ratchet up its Cyber Defense to meet the changing times.

Japan was forewarned in 2011 about the seriousness of cyber attacks because Mitsubishi Heavy Industries faced serious issues. This relates to a cyber attack that sought to extract information about fighter jets, missile platforms data, submarines, and other sensitive areas. Hence, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries being a major contractor in the field of defense, then the government of Japan was forewarned about the seriousness of cyber attacks.

Earlier this year, Abe stressed the importance of developing the cyber defense of Japan and given the relationship that exists between Japan and NATO, then this route was taken. Therefore, Abe announced that Japan would join the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) that is based in Tallinn, Estonia.

On the CCDCOE website, it says, The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is a multinational and interdisciplinary hub of cyber defense expertise. The Tallinn-based international military organization focuses on technology, strategy, operations and law.” 

The Director of CCDCOE, Merle Maigre, stated, We welcome the decision of Japan to join CCDCOE as a Contributing Participant, membership status available to non-NATO nations. Japan is one of NATO’s key partners beyond the Euro-Atlantic area and a globally recognized technology and cybersecurity power. Joining the Centre will be a concrete step forward signaling the commitment in cyber defense cooperation between like-minded nations.” 

It must be stressed that Japan employs relatively low numbers in the realm of cyber defense compared with major geopolitical nations. For example, the United States is believed to have approximately 6,000 individuals devoted to cyber defense based on neutralizing – or preventing – cyber attacks. Likewise, China employs over 100,000 individuals in the area of cybersecurity. However, in Japan, the number will reach 150 by the year-end.

Of course, it must be stated that America, China, France, Iran, North Korea, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and others involved in intrigues – or who seek to defend against cyber attacks – are more focused on this area. Yet, for Japan, a relative quietist approach to geopolitics and intrigues remains in place outside of concerns related to North Korea and the militarization of China. Therefore, Japan is playing catch up based on past political factors and natural constraints related to the constitution.


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