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Corporate Japan circling the wagons against cyberattacks

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor, Sony, and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone are among the major Japanese corporations joining forces to strengthen cybersecurity by training specialists and sharing information.

     The cross-industry initiative, involving more than 40 big-name companies, will be announced Thursday. Participants will together train personnel able to respond to even the newest forms of cyberterrorism. They will team up to minimize the harm from attacks in a world increasingly connected by the Internet of Things and other technologies.

     NTT, NEC and Hitachi will serve as the secretariat of a committee on development of cybersecurity talent. As a start, the NTT group will provide know-how in specialist training to other companies. Four or five influential universities may offer cybersecurity classes funded by participating businesses.

     The committee will also create a system to quickly notify companies of cyberattacks, sharing such information as methods and likely perpetrators to keep harm from spreading.

     Businesses that play integral roles in people's lives, such as oil, gas and transportation companies, have also been tapped for collaboration.

     Tokyo Gas, JX Holdings, Sumitomo Chemical, JR East and ANA Holdings unit All Nippon Airways have agreed to take part. Life and nonlife insurers as well as megabanks, which could be targeted for customer data, will also participate. With major players in each industry leading the way, the hope is to gradually expand the partnership.

     Between 2013 and 2014, reports and inquiries on cyberattacks jumped 39% to 118,100, according to the National Police Agency.

     The Japan Pension Service was hacked last June in an email attack, compromising information on over 1 million people. A cyberattack on a German steel mill disrupted operations and physically damaged production equipment.

     The Japanese government is stepping up its own efforts as well. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry compiled corporate cybersecurity guidelines late last year, urging management to take precautions.


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