Japan Launches Antiterrorism Unit

The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), December 10, 2015 | Go to article overview

Japan Launches Antiterrorism Unit


Japan launched its counterterrorism unit ahead of schedule on Tuesday to shore up the nation's antiterrorism measures following multiple terrorist attacks in Paris.

Counterterrorism Unit-Japan (CTU-J), which was initially planned for an April launch, will be tasked with gathering intelligence on terrorists overseas. The CTU-J will reinforce the Prime Minister's Office, which the government envisages will become Japan's command center for antiterrorism efforts ahead of the Ise-Shima Summit meeting of the Group of Seven countries to be held in Mie Prefecture next May and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga attended the CTU-J's inauguration ceremony at the Prime Minister's Office.

"Eclipsing the boundaries of ministries and agencies, I hope each of you will utilize all of Japan's resources and do as much as possible to obtain information about international terrorists," Suga said.

The CTU-J will be staffed by about 20 officials from various government entities including the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the National Police Agency. To fund its operations, the government will use about 126 million yen from its reserve fund for the fiscal 2015 budget.

The Foreign Ministry will also assign about 20 more officials to overseas diplomatic missions for antiterrorism purposes.

Two other government entities were also established on Tuesday to share and analyze information obtained by the CTU-J among ministries and agencies, beyond their bureaucratic borders: an executive board to collect and consolidate information about international terrorism, chaired by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita, and an office to consolidate information about international terrorism, which serves as the secretariat for the executive board.

Ahead of the G-7 summit and the Tokyo Games, the government will also reinforce monitoring and surveillance on potential homegrown terrorists (see below) and cyber-attack defenses in addition to intelligence activities overseas.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised the issue during a Cabinet ministers meeting on Tuesday to discuss measures to cope with crimes.

"We've never seen global terrorism in such a severe state," Abe said. "To make Japan the world's safest country, I hope all of those concerned will make all possible efforts."

Under the CTU-J, authorities including the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the National Police Agency will cooperate on diplomatic missions abroad. …

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