Japan plans to work more closely with private companies by sharing information on cyber attacks after defense contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was hacked, Nikkei business daily reported on Sunday. The government also aims to ratify an international treaty on online crimes, the Nikkei said without citing a source. The United States has recently pressured Japan to take more action against cyber attacks after Mitsubishi Heavy, which works closely with Boeing, said in September network information such as IP addresses may have been leaked. Tokyo is considering asking private companies including utilities, railway operators, defence contractors, automakers and electronics to sign an agreement with public bodies to share information on cyber attacks, the Nikkei said.

Under attack?

Looking for outside help

Once the agreement is in place, the government and the public bodies would then widely share information on such attacks without identifying which firms were targeted, the Nikkei said. But Tokyo will not establish a new law requiring firms to report online breaches to the government as this would be too difficult, the Nikkei reported. The government also plans to ratify the Convention on Cybercrime, a treaty dealing with network security breaches and other online crimes by establishing an international network to provide help to investigators globally, the Nikkei said. Japan, which in 2001 signed the treaty initiated by the Council of Europe, is among the nearly 50 countries that have signed or ratified the treaty, but it has yet to bring this into force.

The government will hold a meeting on Friday to boost information security, the Nikkei reported. Mitsubishi Heavy has said it so far had not confirmed any leaks on its products or technologies. An outside contractor is now checking whether any sensitive data had been breached. Rivals IHI Corp and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have also said they have received suspicious e-mails. It is unclear who was responsible for the attacks.

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