Japan and EU Strengthen Cybersecurity for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

In the context that Japan is counting down to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is trying to strengthen cooperation with the EU in cybersecurity before the two important international sporting events.

In the past, Olympic and Paralympic organizers have faced a huge number of cyber attacks. In particular, the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Rio recorded up to 500 million attacks while this figure at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games was 200 million. That’s why the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are forecast to be no exception.

Susanna Makela, Sr Director Government Affairs at Microsoft EU office, said cyberattacks were no longer the petty hobby of attackers but became like a job. Attackers are getting smarter, more serious, more organized and more funded.

In 2015, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee recorded an attack that made its website inaccessible for more than 12 hours. Cyber attacks are thought to be more complex and sophisticated, with advancements in technology. Hackers generally view infrastructure as an attractive target because it causes many disruptions.

Last year, Japan identified 13 key infrastructure areas in the fourth edition of its cybersecurity policy. They urge the public and private sectors to undertake comprehensive efforts to protect these facilities. These include aviation, government and administrative services, medical services and credit card services.

To address these threats, Japan has sought to understand cybersecurity through its cooperation with the EU. In January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Estonia, an EU member state and also a leading information technology power in the world. During this trip, the two sides agreed to strengthen bilateral network security cooperation. In addition, a political document adopted by the EU Council in May called for promoting EU security cooperation and engagement with Asian countries in key areas, including network security.

Japanese diplomats have emphasized that the document is a concrete step towards cooperation between Japan and the EU.