• Kyodo News

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Japan will hold a working-level meeting with the United States in early February in Tokyo as part of efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation in working out countermeasures against Internet attacks, government sources said Monday.

The talks will come at a time when reported attacks from China on Google Inc. have developed into a diplomatic issue between Washington and Beijing. The major search engine has threatened to withdraw from China over censorship and hacking.

At the upcoming meeting, the first of its kind since the inauguration of the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, officials of the Cabinet Secretariat and the Department of Homeland Security will exchange the latest information on Internet attacks and consider measures to cope with them, the sources said.

They are also expected to discuss how to raise awareness and prevent attacks in the Asia-Pacific region, they said.

Since taking office last January, President Barack Obama has been promoting information security, including the appointment in December of a new security coordinator in charge of countermeasures by government agencies against hacking.

Japan and the U.S. agreed in 2005 to hold a regular meeting on information security, but such a meeting has not been held since November 2008.

Since then, threats from Internet-based attacks have been increasing. Last July, the U.S. and South Korea came under simultaneous attack from computers in Japan and other countries.

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