Japan creates cyber defense unit

Amy Walters/Shutterstock.com

Government announces guidelines on digital domain.

Japan’s Defense Ministry announced that it would create a unit dedicated to countering computer attacks and espionage, the Yomiuri Shimbun reports.

The ministry plans to recruit 100 people to collect information about malware, study ways to respond to security threats, and take over operations currently conducted separately by ground, maritime and air forces, according to the article.

In conjunction with the establishment of the unit, Japan released the nation's first defense guidelines on the cyber domain. They spell out Japan’s right to self-defense if a computer attack occurs as part of an armed offensive strike, and clarify that the digital realm is "the fifth field of military operations" along with ground, sea, air and space.

The language echoes some of the early rhetoric around the founding of U.S. Cyber Command, established in 2010 to counter security threats. Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said in 2010 that the Pentagon was ready to add cyberspace as a domain of warfare to sea, land, air and space.

(Image via Amy Walters/Shutterstock.com)