TOKYO (THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Transnational cyber-attacks have become increasingly sophisticated, posing a growing threat.
It is vital to quickly bolster a system to deal with the situation through cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The government has revised its cybersecurity-related strategy for the first time in three years.
The new strategy includes measures to enhance the protection of financial institutions, nuclear power plants and other important infrastructure, as well as a plan to establish a public-private consultative council.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be singled out as a target of cyber-attacks.
It is important to steadily implement necessary measures, with this task chiefly assigned to the National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity, a key organ in charge of this work.
The severity of cyberspace crimes has become even greater.
Russia's suspected meddling in the U.S. presidential election involved cases in which documents and emails belonging to senior officials and others from the Democratic Party camp were stolen and leaked.
In cases linked to computer virus infections caused by software called ransomware, large-scale damage occurred in countries around the world, and Japanese corporations were also struck by system failures and other problems with them.
Government organisations that handle administrative information and the latest details of research activities are being constantly exposed to cyber-attacks.
The new strategy has added airports to the list of important infrastructure.
They are viewed as facilities for which safeguards will be improved as a high-priority measure.
The government has also decided to establish and announce new standards by which to assess the severity of cyber-attacks' impact on society, using a five-level scale.
The aim of the move is appropriate, as it seeks to inform the public about the level of damage in an easy-to-understand manner, thereby helping them to act calmly.
In responding to such threats, it is important for relevant ministries and agencies, operators of important facilities, and security-related corporations to jointly analyse specific cases of damage and share information.
Efforts should be made to identify the main culprits behind such attacks and devise measures to deter them.
In the last ordinary Diet session, a government-sponsored bill whose main pillar was to set up a public-private consultative body was treated as legislation subject to continued discussions.
The bill must be passed into law in the next Diet session without fail.
It is essential to make progress in systematically producing and securing professional engineers in cooperation with universities and research institutions.
Another matter for consideration is to utilise the Self-Defence Forces (SDF) in this respect.
The SDF are currently engaged in such duties as surveillance over defence networks, with 350 SDF members assigned to these tasks, mainly its cyber defence group.
It is advisable to make sure the SDF's expertise is utilised to safeguard other government organisations and private-sector systems.
Under current legislation, the SDF are not allowed to counter cyber-attacks.
How should continuous cyber-attacks by other nations be dealt with?
It is essential to consider legal steps regarding how a limited level of counterforce capability should be possessed.
The new strategy also calls for promoting the rule of law in cyberspace.
This reflects a line of thinking that attaches importance to securing free and safe cyberspace based on fair rules.
It is necessary to cooperate with the United States, European and other nations in facilitating an international cooperative framework.
The Yomiuri Shimbun is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media entities.