Japan, U.S. conclude 1st dialogue on cyber defense cooperation

Japan and the United States concluded their first comprehensive dialogue on cyber defense on Friday after exploring new areas of cooperation, they said in a joint statement.

During the two-day meeting in Tokyo, Japanese and U.S. officials also identified actions that governments and private-sector entities can take to secure critical infrastructure, and affirmed the application of "norms of responsible state behavior" in cyberspace, according to the statement.

The cross-sectional consultation aimed at discussing cyber-related cooperation came just days after a U.S. Defense Department report to Congress blamed the Chinese military for mounting cyberattacks on computer systems owned by the U.S. government.

Amid concern that it has been slow to erect defenses against increasingly sophisticated attacks in cyberspace, Japan is hoping to improve its readiness by tapping U.S. know-how on cyber defense, according to Japanese officials.

The participants in the meeting discussed the growing role of cyber defense in security strategies, while confirming support for the implementation of "national whole-of-government cyber strategies" in a bid to make cyberspace less dangerous, the statement said.

The countries agreed to hold their second dialogue on the issue in Washington sometime between October and December.

The efforts to deepen cooperation come amid a growing awareness of the threat that cyberattacks pose to national infrastructure, such as nuclear power stations, financial networks and transportation.

Policymakers are also keenly aware that international rule-making is urgently needed given the lack of rules binding state behavior in cyberspace.

The meeting, which was held at the Foreign Ministry, was led by Osamu Imai, Japanese ambassador in charge of cyberpolicy, and Christopher Painter, coordinator for cyber issues at the U.S. State Department.

The first comprehensive dialogue between the two countries "has shown clearly that Japan and the United States are united" in tackling cyber issues, a senior ministry official said.

The participants included officials from Japan's Defense Ministry and National Information Security Center as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.

The dialogue followed the decision of Japan and the United States to discuss how to address the growing threat of cyberattacks under the framework of the bilateral security treaty.

The Japan-U.S. dialogue was aimed at exchanging cyber threat information, aligning international cyber policies and comparing national cyber strategies, among other objectives, according to the statement.