A battle is underway between China and Japan in cyberspace, with
Japanese officials claiming Chinese hackers are routinely attacking
websites and Internet services in Japan. Among them is the homepage of
the Yasukuni Shrine, a constant source of friction between the two
Japanese officials say cyber-attacks from China have been on the rise
for several years.
A particularly intense attack of e-mail barrages on the Internet home
of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo forced the web site's closure on
A shrine spokesman has called the cyber-assault "terrorism" and a
malicious challenge to all of Japan.
The Shinto religious institution is dedicated to the souls of Japanese
war dead, among them convicted war criminals from the Second World
Beijing has repeatedly protested visits by Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi to Yasukuni, saying the shrine glorifies Japan's military past
and its invasion of China in the 1930s and 1940s.
Kuninori So, an analyst at the Cyber Defense Institute in Tokyo says
the recent cyber-assault on Yasukuni Shrine appears to have been well
"In this case, for Yasukuni, probably the attack caused by the Chinese
hackers should be well organized and a certain amount of groups and
people participating," he said.
Mr. So adds the attacks ebb and flow with the state of Beijing-Tokyo
relations, and on anniversaries of events that took place during
Japan's occupation of China.
Japan plans to set up a special government unit this year to combat
Police here say that while the Chinese attacks are numerous and a
nuisance, they are more concerned about the possibility of Islamic
militants and North Korean agents using the Internet to take control
of or damage critical infrastructure, such as control systems for
utilities or banks.
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