Japan backs launch of police bureau to fight cybercrime

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Japan’s Cabinet on Friday approved a bill allowing the National Police Agency to set up a new office and team dedicated to responding to serious cybercrimes in April.

The bill is part of Japan’s effort to centralize cybercrime-related policing activities that are currently handled by multiple bureaus, amid growing concern over alleged state-sponsored attacks from China, North Korea and from Russia.

After the Diet passes the revised police bill, the office and team will be launched on April 1.

The Cabinet approval came as reliance on online communication has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic, increasing opportunities for cybercrime.

With the reorganization, the police plan to strengthen cybercrime investigations using state-of-the-art technology as well as cooperation with foreign counterparts.

The number of police-confirmed cybercrime cases nationwide stood at 12,275 in 2021, up about 20% from the previous year.

Ransomware attacks, which use malware to encrypt computer files and make them inaccessible until users pay ransoms, are becoming a serious problem, disrupting operations in hospitals and other institutions.

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