The Pentagon has reposed its confidence about sharing intel with Japan, despite a news report saying Chinese military hackers gained access to Japan’s most sensitive defence networks. A Pentagon spokesperson, Sabrina Singh, declined to comment on the Washington Post report, saying it would let Tokyo speak for its intelligence and cyber capabilities.
“I’m not going to disclose and get into private conversations that the secretary has with his counterparts. What I can say is that, you know, we’ve let Japan speak to its own intelligence capabilities and securities,” Singh said during a press conference.
The Pentagon spokesperson added that Washington feels confident in its relationship and the intelligence sharing with Tokyo. “What I would say is, again, I’d let Japan speak for their own intelligence capabilities and cyber capabilities. What I can say is, from a department’s perspective, we feel confident in our relationship with Japan. We continue to coordinate with one of our greatest partners in the region,” she added.
This comes a day after the Washington Post cited unnamed US and Japanese officials as saying that Chinese military hackers gained access to Japan’s classified defense networks in 2020, accessing information about the military capabilities, plans and assessments of shortcomings.
In 2020, the US National Security Agency (NSA) uncovered that Chinese military hackers had breached classified defense networks of a crucial ally in East Asia. The infiltration by People’s Liberation Army cyberspies into Japan’s sensitive computer systems raised concerns over compromised plans, military capabilities, and assessments of weaknesses.
Despite Japanese efforts to bolster network security, fears persist that intelligence-sharing with the Pentagon could be hindered. Gen. Paul Nakasone of the NSA and Matthew Pottinger, then White House deputy national security adviser, informed Japanese officials of the breach, with China’s intrusion into Tokyo’s defence networks deemed one of the most damaging hacks in modern Japanese history.
In the aftermath of the hacking incident, Japanese initiatives to enhance cybersecurity, quadrupling the military cybersecurity force and significantly boosting budget and personnel, are underway.
Meanwhile, the US emphasised the importance of cybersecurity for effective joint military operations and ongoing US-Japan alliance strength amid heightened regional security challenges posed by China’s assertive activities.
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first published: August 09, 2023, 15:01 IST
last updated: August 09, 2023, 15:03 IST