(Yomiuri: December 9, 2015 – p. 4)
With the International Terrorism Intelligence-Gathering Unit to be established on Dec. 8, the government plans to accelerate the enhancement of security measures against domestic terrorism. The administration will not only gather information on foreign terrorism in preparation for the G-7 Summit next May (Ise-Shima Summit) and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, but it will also step up its monitoring and surveillance to prevent “homegrown terrorism” and efforts to defend against cyberattacks.
Preparation for G-7 Summit and Olympics
“The international terrorism situation is more unpredictable than ever before. I want everyone to do their utmost to ensure that Japan is the safest country in the world,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Dec. 8 at a ministerial meeting on anticrime measures, instructing the ministers to work on antiterrorism measures with a sense of crisis.
The International Terrorism Intelligence-Gathering Unit will include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and the National Police Agency. The unit will gather and analyze information on terrorists overseas in cooperation with Japanese missions abroad. There is concern that the unit may end up as “a jumbled mixture of different ministries and agencies” on account of inter-ministry rivalry, but the consolidation of information for the Prime Minister’s Official Residence appears to be moving forward.
The threat of terrorism, however, doesn’t just come from overseas. National Public Safety Commission Chairperson Kono acknowledged in a press conference on Dec. 8 that “people living in Japan could turn into terrorists, so the threat of homegrown terrorists basically exists.” He went on to emphasize that “authorities have identified individuals suspected of being influenced by the “Islamic State” extremist group and continue to monitor them.”
At the ministerial meeting on Dec. 8, Justice Minister Iwaki called for the need to pass legislation related to the reform of the criminal justice system. The legislation is focused on expanding the range of individuals subject to wiretapping by investigative agencies. The government aims to pass the bills in the ordinary Diet session next year. The ministry also places importance on beefing up “border control” through such measures as stricter immigration inspections.
“30,000 people” to be registered as cyber experts
In the meantime, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga announced on Dec. 8 that with regard to countermeasures against cyberterrorism, the government will aim to register over 30,000 cyber experts by 2020 under a new national certification system for skilled technicians. The government will administer the first test as early as FY2017. The certification will be valid for three years and will need to be renewed thereafter. The government is hoping to train “white hat hackers” (hackers for justice) and help the private sector hire such experts, while also utilizing their expertise for the government’s cyber defense.