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Japan: U.S. alerted to cyberattack

The Washington Post quoted multiple current or former U.S. and Japanese officials on August 7 as saying that People's Liberation Army hackers had invaded Japan's Defense Ministry's computer system that handles top-secret intelligence, affecting the sharing of intelligence between Japan and the United States. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshi Matsuno said in response that he could not confirm whether any security information had been leaked.

Japan’s Jiji News Agency quoted a report from the China Post on the 8th, stating that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) became aware of the incident in the fall of 2020 and notified the Japanese government. However, Japan’s cybersecurity countermeasures are still insufficient and may affect the sharing of intelligence between the two countries.

The report described the incident as the most destructive invasion in Japan's modern history. A former senior US military official described the situation as shocking.

The Washington Post mentioned that in the fall of 2020, Washington sent Matt Pottinger, then White House Deputy National Security Adviser, and Paul Nakasone, Director of the US National Security Agency and Commander of the Cyber ​​War Command, to Tokyo to directly report to the Ministry of Defense of Japan. The high-level officials communicated the incident, and the top officials of the Ministry of Defense were concerned at the time, so they issued a warning to the Prime Minister.

However, Japan's corresponding cyber security measures are still insufficient. After the Joe Biden administration came to power in the United States, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asked Japan to strengthen cyber security, otherwise it would affect the sharing of intelligence between the two countries. In the fall of 2021, Washington provided intelligence to Japan, confirming the severity of the Chinese hacker intrusion and the Japanese government's handling of the incident too slowly.

According to the report, Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser of the White House network and emerging technologies, visited Japan on the 11th of the same year and had talks with the high-level officials of the Self-Defense Forces and the foreign affairs department. The Post pointed out that the Japanese government was aware of the surveillance by its ally the United States.

Regarding relevant reports, Hiroichi Matsuno said that Japan and the United States have been in close contact at multiple levels, but he refused to disclose further contact details on the grounds of the nature of the incident. Matsuno also said that he could not confirm whether any security data was leaked due to cyber attacks, and reiterated that cyber security is the basis for maintaining the Japan-US alliance, and Japan will continue to ensure its network is strong and safe.

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