Japan police to launch national force over cyber crime

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan will launch a 140-strong nationwide police task force next week to fight cyber attacks, including those from abroad, the National Police Agency said on Thursday.

The cyber police, including specialists recruited from private companies and skilled in such languages as English, Chinese, Korean and Russian, will be deployed in Tokyo, Osaka and other key locations, the agency said in a statement.

They aim to step up work to protect Japanese government organisations, defence contractors and companies that operate infrastructure such as power plants and gas storage facilities, according to Japanese media.

The statement said the foreign language experts would "gather information on cyber attacks from abroad".

Cyber attacks have so far been dealt with by provincial police departments with the help of specialists.

Japan came under cross-border cyber attack in September last year when the government nationalised some of the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus.

At least 19 Japanese websites, including those of a government ministry, courts and a hospital, were hit, apparently from China, the agency said at the time.

A report by a US firm earlier this year said the Chinese state was pouring cash into cyber attacks and claimed the People's Liberation Army was linked to a long-running cyber espionage campaign.

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