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Japan Cybersecurity

Recent cyberattacks increase awareness in Japan for the need for cybersecurity preparedness, creating opportunities for U.S. providers.

Much needed cybersecurity supply chain awareness offers U.S. cybersecurity solution providers an opportunity to increase sales to Japan. On March 22, 2022, in response to increasing ransomware attacks and Emotet infections, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; National Police Agency; and National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity made a joint announcement calling for strengthening cybersecurity measures. The announcement also reminded SMEs to consider the potential impact of an attack, stating, “if your company is affected by a cyber-attack, its impact can extend beyond your business activities to those of the entire supply chain.”

Foreign observers often remark that Japan lags in digital and information technology preparedness. In 2021, Colonial Pipeline, a major U.S. oil line company, was subject to a ransomware attack that forced the company to temporarily shut down its fuel pipeline. The news was widely reported in Japan and reminded Japanese industry of the importance of updating their cybersecurity measures. There are additional cases in Japan of companies affected by malware through their overseas subsidiaries and suppliers. In February 2022, Toyota suspended its production lines for a day after its main domestic supplier was attacked by ransomware.

The Japanese public and private sectors updated their cybersecurity measures in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games that took place in summer 2021. Afterwards, the Japanese government reported that there were no major cyberattacks that affected the Games’ operations. However, according to NTT Corporation, which provided services during the Games, it blocked 450 million cyberattacks against networks and systems related to the Games.

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said the most popular attack methods were Emoted spam malware, e-mail spoofing, phishing attempts, and fake websites. Other attacks included critical infrastructure, ransomware, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. In 2022, Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA) released its “10 Major Security Threats 2022” report. The report states that ransomware attacks are the most common type of cybersecurity breach, followed by confidential information theft by advanced persistent threat (APT) and attacks exploiting supply chain weaknesses.

For more information about cybersecurity market developments in Japan and related opportunities for U.S. companies, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service at Office.Tokyo@trade.gov.

04/18/2022