Japan to step up defenses against Islamic, NKorean, computer threats
Japan will set up a special unit against cyber terrorism and needs to be on guard against threats from Islamic militants and North Korean agents, police said Wednesday.
The government will set up a new anti-cyberterrorism team of about 30 computer experts by April, with the number of personnel to be doubled two years later, said an official with the IT Security Office of the Cabinet Office.
"Various acts of terrorism and attacks are on the rise, and the government has decided we can do more to deal with them," the official said.
The National Police Agency said separately that Japan, a close ally of the United States, needed to be cautious about threats from Islamic extremists and North Korea.
Militants purported to belong to Al-Qaeda have threatened to attack Tokyo to protest Japan's troop deployment to Iraq.
North Korea during the Cold War kidnapped Japanese citizens to train spies in Japanese language and culture, a saga that continues to keep relations tense between the two countries.
In an annual review and outlook of public security released Tuesday, the police cited the case of Lionel Dumont, a Frenchman linked to Al-Qaeda who stayed in Japan with several foreign associates after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
"Concerns remain that extremists might manipulate the Islamic communities (in Japan) to carry out terror-related activities," the report said.
At most 10,000 Japanese are estimated to be Muslims, mostly women who converted after marrying foreigners, but Japan is home to many more expatriate Muslims.
On North Korea, the police report said the Stalinist nation has widened the gap with the rest of the world with its nuclear ambition.
"In order to secure economic aid from Japan, (North Korea) might increase harmful operations and activities," the report said.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.