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The United States will extend its cyber defense umbrella over Japan, helping its Asian ally cope with the growing threat of online attacks against military bases and infrastructure such as power grids, the two nations said in a joint statement on Saturday.
"We note a growing level of sophistication among malicious cyber actors, including non-state and state-sponsored actors," they said in a statement released by the U.S.-Japan Cyber Defense Policy Working Group, which was established in 2013.
Cybersecurity is a key area where Japan and the United States are deepening their military partnership under a set of new security guidelines released in April, that will also integrate their ballistic missile defense systems and give Tokyo a bigger security role in Asia as China's military power grows.
Both the United States and Japan are wary of cyber threats, including potential attacks from China or North Korea. While the United States is investing heavily in building a force to counter and retaliate against online attacks, Japan, which hosts the biggest U.S. military contingent in Asia, has been slower to buttress its cyber defenses.
The Japanese military's cyber defense unit has around 90 members, compared to more than 6,000 people at the Pentagon, a Japanese Defense Ministry official said at a briefing on Thursday.