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Japan, EU to hold cyberspace talks


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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie, inspect a guard of honor after arriving at Berlin’s Tegel Airport on April 29. | AFP-JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Union leaders will agree at a summit in Brussels on May 7 to launch a dialogue to boost cybersecurity, according to a draft of a statement that is expected to be issued after the meeting.

With China as a suspected source of cyberattacks in mind, the draft joint statement says, “Facing more severe, widespread and globalized risks surrounding cyberspace … protection of a safe, open and secure cyberspace is needed.”


Abe and the EU leaders, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, will also agree to hold an inaugural meeting of a Japan-EU dialogue on the stable use of outer space in the latter half of this year in Tokyo, the draft says.

With the launch of a Japan-EU dialogue to promote cooperation on cyberspace, which would follow similar consultations Japan has held with the United States, Britain and other countries, Tokyo appears poised to proactively contribute to international rule-making over cyberspace.

Regarding cyberattacks as a new type of threat to national security, Japan said in its National Security Strategy adopted in December that it will strengthen information sharing and promote cyberdefense cooperation with relevant countries.

In the first meeting of the Japan-EU Space Policy Dialogue, the two sides are expected to discuss cooperation toward the creation of international norms that will help reduce space debris caused by anti-satellite tests, satellite collisions and other reasons.

“We affirm the importance of safety, security and sustainability of outer space activities,” the draft says.

There have been growing calls for the crafting of international norms on outer space activities since China destroyed one of its aging satellites via a missile-driven, anti-satellite test in 2007, creating a mess of fragments fluttering through space and sparking concern that such debris could seriously damage other satellites in nearby orbit.

In the summit, Abe and the EU leaders will reaffirm their shared view that international disputes and issues “should be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law, not by force or coercion,” the draft says.

It apparently refers to repeated intrusions by Chinese patrol ships into Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea in an attempt to undermine Japan’s administration over the islets, claimed as Diaoyu by Beijing and Tiaoyutai by Taiwan.

Among other issues, the EU leaders will welcome an expanded role of Japan in promoting and sustaining global peace and security, as set out in Abe’s policy of proactively contributing to peace based on the principle of international cooperation, according to the draft.

Japan will study the possibility of future participation in EU peace missions in Africa and elsewhere, it says.


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