Japan and the U.S. Need to Operationalize Cybersecurity Cooperation

Japan and the U.S. Need to Operationalize Cybersecurity Cooperation

The United States and Japan are perhaps the two countries for which cooperation on cybersecurity is the most crucial. They are, respectively, the largest and third-largest economies in the world, and two of the largest military powers. Moreover, the economic and military strength of both countries relies on sophisticated intellectual property, military intelligence and trade secrets. As a result, they have more to lose from cyber threats than any other countries in the world.

Recognizing the importance of cybersecurity cooperation, leaders in both Japan and the U.S. have advocated bilateral dialogue on the issue. Most recently, during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Feb. 22, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heralded the launch of a comprehensive U.S.-Japan cybersecurity dialogue. On the same day, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also welcomed the comprehensive dialogue and confirmed the importance of cybersecurity collaboration to both countries’ economies and security.

The first meeting of the comprehensive dialogue will take place in May. However, the reported agenda remains vague, despite the first working-level meeting between the two sides on cybersecurity having in fact been held in September 2011. This indicates that the partners are still trying to figure out the operational agenda for the comprehensive dialogue, which must bring specific action items to the table.

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