• Reuters, Kyodo

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Japan's chief government spokesman has said the nation will put cyberattack countermeasures in place to make sure the Tokyo Olympics are a success.

The U.K. and the United States on Monday condemned what they said were a series of malicious cyberattacks orchestrated by Russian military intelligence, including attempts to disrupt the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The Games were originally set for this year but were postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference Tuesday that Japan was in close contact with London and Washington over the issue and was gathering and analyzing information, but did not give further details.

British officials said Monday that hackers from Russia's GRU military intelligence agency had also conducted "cyber-reconnaissance" operations against Tokyo Games organizers.

They declined to give specific details about the latest attacks or say whether they were successful, but said they had targeted Games organizers, logistics suppliers and sponsors.

The Tokyo Organising Committee said in a statement there was "no significant impact observed" from possible cyberattacks on its operations.

A senior Japanese government official indicated Tokyo would consider lodging a protest with Moscow if cyberattacks were confirmed to have been carried out by the country.

Calling the attacks "cynical and reckless," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, "We condemn them in the strongest possible terms."

The United Kingdom will continue to work with its allies "to call out and counter future malicious cyberattacks," he added.

The attacks on the 2020 Games are the latest in a string of hacking attempts against international sporting organizations that Western officials and cybersecurity experts say have been orchestrated by Russia since its doping scandal erupted five years ago. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Russia was banned from the world's top sporting events for four years in December, including the Tokyo Games, over widespread doping offenses.

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman said they have prioritised cybersecurity.

"The IOC and the Organizing Committees of the Olympic Games have identified cyber security as a priority area and invest a lot to offer the Olympic Games the best cyber security environment possible," the spokesman told Reuters in an email.

"Given the nature of the topic, we do not divulge those measures."

The Tokyo Olympics are slated to be held from July 23 to Aug. 8 next summer, followed by the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

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