TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Defense Ministry plans to strengthen steps against cyberattacks by setting up its first regional cyberspace defense unit, as China bolsters its own cyber capabilities, a governmental official said Thursday.
The new unit will be set up within the Ground Self-Defense Force Western Army and start operations by the end of next March with some 40 members.
The ministry established a unit in 2014 to respond to cyberattacks and monitor networks at its ministry and Self-Defense Forces buildings in Tokyo. But the ministry believes it is difficult for the current unit alone to deal with all such attacks across the country.
The duties of the new unit will include responding to potential cyberattacks on wireless communication networks on islands in southwestern Japan at a time when Chinese coast guard vessels are often spotted around the Japanese-controlled, Chinese-claimed Senkaku Islands in the area.
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said last month that the U.S. government and companies remain under cyberattacks by China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.
The ministry will consider deploying similar units in other regions.