Japan to set up command center to address threats in space and cyberspace

Kyodo

The government plans to set up a command center at the Defense Ministry to deal with threats in space and cyberspace as well as electronic warfare, a government source said Sunday.

The plan will be included in the National Defense Program Guidelines that the government will update in 2018 after it is approved at a National Security Council meeting to be held soon, the source said.

Space, cyberspace and electronic warfare are emerging as new security areas, with some countries beefing up operations to handle them. As Japan has trailed in this area, specialized units to cope with the three areas will be established under the new command center.

Under the plan, the Japanese government in cooperation with the United States and Europe aims to establish a system to monitor hunter-killer satellites that are designed to attack other satellites.

Japanese officials have also been learning how to monitor space debris such as used rocket parts and old satellites at the U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Space Operations Center, as part of its space policy.

The government plans to place the Defense Ministry’s cyberdefense unit under the command center. The ministry is currently considering increasing the number of officials in the unit to 1,000 from 110.

Still, the government needs to discuss whether the country is able to launch cyberattacks against other countries in its exclusively defense-oriented policy set under its war-renouncing Constitution.

Japan also looks to interfere with radar and radio communication systems of other countries in electronic warfare and will need to decide on the operations of an EP-3 spy plane.

The government will begin discussions next year on defense procurement under its next five-year plan that covers the period through March 2024 and review the National Defense Program Guidelines in late 2018.