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Tokyo 2020- The Response to Cyber Threats

2 August 2021

Prior to the Tokyo Olympics starting just over one week ago, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had identified cybersecurity as a priority area for the games and announced plans to heavily invest to provide the best cyber secure environment. 

Japan has faced multiple cyberattacks and threats — the most recent, according to UK National Cyber Security Centre, was an alleged threat from the Russian military during the preparations of Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where journalists, foreign officials, spectators and athletes would add to the 117 million active internet users in Japan.

The importance of the increased cyber security in Japan comes off the back of previous Olympics, such as Rio 2016, London 2012, and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, which all faced cyber threats to varying degrees. 

In a huge attempt to learn from the past and prevent these threats from becoming attacks during the games, Japan have put several measures in place. 

Cybersecurity Response

Due to the increase in cyberthreats and attacks in recent years, Japan has started a bilateral collaboration with new countries and strengthened its current partnerships. For example, Japan has worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on how to improve its cybersecurity in preparation for Tokyo 2020.

A review of Japan's cybersecurity strategy for Tokyo 2020 showed that Japan has limited cybersecurity professionals with only 28% of IT professionals working in-house. This is significantly lower than the 65.4% in the United States, 61.4% in Germany and 53.9% in the United Kingdom. To solve this problem, Japan trained 220 "ethical hackers" earlier this year in hopes to create a more cybersecure Tokyo 2020.

Digital Infrastructure

With Japan being one of the technology leaders, with tech giants such as Toyota and Panasonic, they have called upon their national corporations to deliver innovative ideas and partner on the delivery of digital infrastructure such as, communication suites, applications, cloud services and API’s. 
Also, the postponement of this event from 2020 gave Japan more time to update the infrastructure, further boosting confidence and security. 

Japan is a technology hub and innovator but has been challenged by cybercrimes, threats and attacks like every other country. The country has taken steps to change the narrative.