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US brings Japan under its cyber defence umbrella

The same day when Japan's pension system got hacked and 1.25 million cases of personal data leaked, the US and Japan’s governments issued a joint statement, saying the US will bring Japan under its cyber defence umbrella.

The US will thus help its Asian ally cope with the growing threat of online attacks against military bases and infrastructure such as power grids, Reuters reported on Monday.

"We note a growing level of sophistication among malicious cyber actors, including non-state and state-sponsored actors," they said in a statement released by the U.S.-Japan Cyber Defense Policy Working Group, which was established in 2013.

The strengthening of military cyber partnerships is a part of new security guidelines the US released in April, that will also integrate their ballistic missile defence systems and give Tokyo a bigger security role in Asia as China's military power grows.

Both countries are wary of potential cyberattacks from nations such as China and North Korea or even Iran. The US is heavily investing in cyber-security, with more than 6,000 people working in the Pentagon.

Japan, on the other hand, has a total of 90 people in its cyber defence unit.

Japan is trying to catch up as it prepares to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and with cyberattacks on the rise. Assaults on government websites are now being detected every few seconds, according to Japanese cyber defence experts.

With attacks on Sony Entertainment Online, Anthem, Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities and countless others, it is clear that cyber warfare has entered mainstream and has become a vital role in the struggle for national security.