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Studies show Japan lags behind other countries in defending against cyberattacks and often relies on foreign companies for cybersecurity. Even the Tokyo Olympics may be threatened by cyber attacks. 

Faced with a technological gap that poses serious risks to national security, Tokyo will seek to nurture cyber defense talent and technology by bringing the public and private sectors on the same team. Japan will set up a unit spanning industry, government and academia to study cyberattacks and develop more effective defenses in fiscal 2022. More than 20 companies and other organizations are in talks to join the effort, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The U.K. and U.S. governments claimed recently that Russian military intelligence services had begun reconnaissance for a cyberattack on organizations involved in the Tokyo Olympics, from which Russian competitors had been banned due to a doping scandal.

How will it work? When a company or other organization in Japan reports a cyberattack, the new unit will create an online network masquerading as the victim to draw the attack to itself and lull the perpetrator into thinking it has succeeded.

The team will then monitor and analyze the attack’s techniques, seek to identify the attacker and provide advice on how to cope with the situation.

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology will develop software for cyberattack analysis, with the government planning to earmark 2 billion yen ($19 million) for the project in fiscal 2021, according to asia.nikkei.com.

The techniques used in cyberattacks have increased rapidly in sophistication. While early attacks typically involved shutting down systems with floods of data, the use of hacking or malware to break into systems and steal data has become more common in recent years.

Japan’s new joint unit is intended to address this problem by serving as a central repository for data on cyberattacks across the country.

The National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity, which directs Japan’s cyber defense efforts, is expected to provide data on cyberattacks and related matters.