U.S. and Japan to Cooperate on Cybersecurity, Information Sharing

The United States and Japan have agreed to cooperate more closely on cybersecurity and information sharing initiatives as a way to help both countries defend against future threats and attacks.

The new initiative will include a variety of components, most notably cooperation during serious incidents, cooperation between the two countries’ cybersecurity and defense units, and information sharing programs. Both countries face threats from a variety of sources, to both private and government networks. The U.S. Department of Defense and Ministry of Defense in Japan said in a statement that the countries will build on an existing foundation of cooperation on information security.

“Recognizing that cyberspace has a growing role in ensuring the national security of both Japan and the United States and mindful of our long-standing defense relationship, the MOD and DOD shared the view that, in the event of a serious cyber incident that threatens the security of either of our nations, including if such a cyber incident occurs as a part of an armed attack against Japan, the MOD and DOD will consult closely and take appropriate cooperative actions. In particular, the DOD will consult with the MOD and support Japan via all available channels, as appropriate,” the statement says.

Specifically, the countries plan to explore new avenues for information sharing. The U.S. and Japan have existing information-sharing capabilities, but as the threat landscape evolves, so does the need for different levels of cooperation.

“The sharing of information will include best practices on military training and exercises, education and workforce development; this may include site visits and joint training and exercises, as appropriate. The MOD and DOD, in cooperation with other relevant government agencies, are to explore how to improve cyber information sharing through various channels in a crisis environment, and work toward timely, routine, two-way information sharing and the development of common cyber threat indicators and warning,” the statement says.

“Both sides also recognize that information and operational security are crucial to facilitating the smooth flow of sensitive information between one another in order to best support the Alliance and its activities. The MOD and DOD also recognize the need to build cyber information sharing relationships with other partners.”

The new agreement between Japan and the U.S. comes at a time when the number and skill of attackers is increasing. Governments, intelligence agencies, and cybercriminals all take aim at networks, both public and private, on a daily basis.

“In cyberspace, rapid innovation has contributed to the growth and productivity of our economies and the free flow of information among peoples worldwide. Such innovation and economic integration also introduces new risks in the form of increasing dependence on information systems and software vulnerabilities,” the statement says.

“Furthermore, we note a growing level of sophistication among malicious cyber actors, including non-state and state-sponsored actors, who are increasingly willing to demonstrate their intent and ability to do harm against information systems, critical infrastructure and services upon which our people, economies, governments, and defense forces rely.”

Image from Flickr photos of Robert S. Donovan.

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