Written by staff writer.
The 5th Japan-Australia Cyber Policy Dialogue took place in Tokyo earlier this week, drawing officials from both countries, including from Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre.
The event followed a meeting in November in San Francisco between the prime ministers of both countries, after which they said it was increasingly important that Japan and Australia maintain and further develop close ties on matters such as cybersecurity.
That meeting followed the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in September, when all four countries concurred to promote practical cooperation in many areas of strategic value, including cyber.
“The field of cybersecurity is only growing in importance,” said the Australian Embassy in Tokyo via social media this week. “It is a critical area for Japan – Australia cooperation.”
The Australian Ambassador, Justin Hayhurst, said this week’s Dialogue presented an opportunity to build resilience and capitalise on opportunities cyber presents. “Building resilience to cyber threats is an urgent, global priority,” he said.
In October 2022, the Japanese and Australian Governments issued a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, which pledged cooperation on a wide range of geopolitical, economic, and security matters, including cyber, space, critical and emerging technologies and telecommunications. The pledge included building structural resistance in both countries to foreign aggression, coercion, disinformation, malicious cyber activity, and other forms of interference.
Last month, Australia’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tim Watts, detailed aspects of the recently released 2023-2030 Cyber Security Strategy and said Australia would continue and enlarge its work with international partners to uphold international law and norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, including imposing costs on threat actors who make cyberspace less secure.
Watts said Brendan Dowling, Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology, would lead this “global advocacy work”. Dowling attended and co-chaired this week’s event in Tokyo alongside his Japanese counterpart, Ishizuki Hideo. Both countries discussed their respective cybersecurity strategies and policies at the meeting, as well as capacity building and bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
The first Japan-Australia Cyber Dialogue was held in 2015 after the then Prime Ministers Tony Abbott and Shinzo Abe agreed such meetings would help deepen understanding of each other’s cyber policies and have tangible beneficial outcomes in areas such as combating cybercrime, critical information infrastructure protection, cybersecurity for major events, and enhancing cyber capacity among countries of the Asia-Pacific region. However, this week’s meeting was the first Dialogue since the pandemic disrupted them in 2020.
Aside from Australian officials, the 5th Dialogue drew attendees from Japan’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC); the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the National Police Agency; the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry; and the Ministry of Defense. On the sidelines, the Australian Embassy held a symposium that representatives from Australian and Japanese commercial cybersecurity attended.
In the communique issued at the end of the day, both sides confirmed they would continue to work closely in the cyber field and would continue holding the annual dialogues.