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PM Abe says Japan can use force for self-defense against cyberattacks

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen at his office in Tokyo in this March 12, 2019 file photo. (Mainichi/Toshiki Miyama)

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan will be constitutionally allowed to use force for self-defense if the country comes under cyberattacks.

During a House of Representatives plenary session on May 16, Abe stated that in some cases cyberattacks on Japan alone can constitute armed attacks, and said, "Under the Constitution, Japan will be allowed to exercise force for self-defense."

With regard to the question of what sort of cyberattacks can constitute armed attacks, the prime minister said, "It should be judged on a case-by-case basis based on factors such as international circumstances, the other party's explicit intention, the means employed in the attacks, and responses to them."

Abe then went on to specify "armed attacks" as "cases in which extremely serious damage on par with that caused by attacks by physical means arises, and the attacks are made by the other party in a systematic and premeditated manner." In those cases, Abe suggested, Japan will be able to respond with arms for the sake of self-defense.

Meanwhile, the prime minister expressed concerns over heightening tensions in the Middle East, including the United States' implementation of economic sanctions against Iran.

(Japanese original by Kenta Miyahara, Political News Department)

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