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Japan, U.S. to help ASEAN boost anti-cybercrime skills

Kyodo

Japan and the United States plan to boost the technical abilities of the 10 members of ASEAN to investigate cybercrimes, according to government sources.

At a time when China’s military is suspected of having launched massive cyberattacks, notably against the U.S., Tokyo and Washington are eager to show their cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to counter such moves, the sources said Saturday in Tokyo.

To that end, Japan will provide $150,000 and the United States $250,000 to the United Nations to facilitate the dispatch of anti-cybercrime experts by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime to ASEAN members, the sources said.

Providing technical guidance to the regional bloc to fight cybercrimes is vital because “China is suspected of conducting cyberattacks against Japan, the United States and others through servers in the Southeast Asian region,” one of the sources said.

Tokyo and Washington have decided to involve the U.N. agency because it has been providing technical assistance to countries to help improve their abilities to combat crimes including cybercrime, the sources said.

Working-level talks in May between Tokyo and Washington resulted in an accord to train investigators in ASEAN, following up on a bilateral statement in April saying Japan and the United States would coordinate closely to help the regional bloc address cybercrime.

By spring next year they plan to finish the training, which includes sharing with ASEAN officials how to analyze information on networks and maintaining and gathering evidence, the sources said.

Japan and the United States will discuss soon with the U.N. entity the size of the teams of experts and the duration of their dispatch to the ASEAN members, the sources said, adding the program may be extended based on the success of the initial plan.

As a next step, Japan and the U.S. are considering setting up a consultative body to bolster information-sharing with ASEAN, the sources said. But many experts believe that it will take a considerable amount of time to raise the capabilities of all ASEAN members to counter cyberattacks.