Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TOKYO727 2008-03-18 23:00 2011-05-04 00:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tokyo

DE RUEHKO #0727/01 0782300
P 182300Z MAR 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TOKYO 000727




E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/17/2018


Classified By: Ambassador JTSCHIEFFER for reasons 1.4(b/d).

¶1. (SBU) Summary: Japan has faced a variety of natural
disasters and other historical challenges to its critical
infrastructure and systems. As a result, the country has
developed preparations and capacity for responding to known
threats, such as earthquakes, and has a record of willingness
to share this information with others to help develop their
abilities to prepare for and cope with disasters.
Compartmentalization and risk aversion within the
bureaucracy, however, could increase Japan,s vulnerability
to threats for which it is less prepared, such as a pandemic.
Given the integration of the U.S. and Japanese economies as
well as Japan,s status as the world’s second largest
economy, the potential consequences of a catastrophic event
in Japan could be major. It would be useful to develop
further bilateral exchanges on the subject of critical
infrastructure and its protection and to include Japan in any
work on critical infrastructure and emergency response. End


¶2. (SBU) Japan and the U.S. are the world’s two largest
economies, closely linked to each other and to other major
world economies. A catastrophic event or major
infrastructure failure in Japan, therefore, would negatively
affect the U.S., the rest of Asia, and the global economy as

¶3. (SBU) The infrastructure and systems that most directly
connect the U.S. and Japan include information and
communications, transportation and distribution, and
financial systems. Japan’s industrial and R&D
establishments, some of which have become sole providers for
extremely specialized high-tech equipment or technologies,
mean Japanese inputs are valuable, and sometimes essential,
to numerous U.S. industries.

Information and Communications Systems

¶4. (SBU) A failure of information and communications systems
would have an immediate impact. These systems are connected
globally in real time. A major failure could affect
transportation, energy, defense, financial, health care, and
other critical industries and services.

¶5. (SBU) The greatest risk to such systems seems to be
virtual, from cyber-warfare or cyber-crime. Such attacks are
regarded as easier and could have a wider potential impact
than attacks on physical infrastructure. Attacks could also
be launched against system infrastructure, content or
operations on networks, or against individuals or commerce
active over such networks. Cyber-security threats seem an
inescapable part of life on the Internet and the capabilities
of potential attackers and those administering networks are
already advanced and growing continually.

¶6. (SBU) Still, physical damage to global information
networks remains a threat, particularly involving
trans-oceanic cables or remote infrastructure. Given the
redundancy and ability to reroute signals over networks,
however, such an incident might have less severe impact on
the U.S, although the time and cost of repairing a
transpacific cable could be substantial.

¶7. (SBU) Japan is pursuing policies to address risks and
improve its cyber-security profile. Japan has both public
and private sector entities focused on cyber-security in an
effort coordinated by the National Information Security
Council (NISC), a cabinet office, and the Japan Computer
Emergency Response Team/Coordination Center (CERT/CC). The
country is currently in the second year of its Secure Japan
three year plan.

¶8. (SBU) The U.S.-Japan Cyber-Security Dialogue, lead by DHS
and NISC, also continues to share information and explore
areas of cooperation. One example is participation by
Japanese observers in the March 2008 CyberStorm II exercise.
These efforts should improve international coordination of
planning and cyber-security response capabilities,
demonstrate best practices and refine national programs.

TOKYO 00000727 002 OF 003

Aviation and Maritime Ports

¶9. (U) Transportation links between Japan and the U.S. too
are critical to global as well as bilateral commerce.
Two-way merchandise trade in 2006 between the two countries
equaled USD 207.7 billion. On average, USD 569 million worth
of goods passed through Japanese ports every day on their way
to or from the U.S.

¶10. (U) Japan’s three largest airports with traffic to the
U.S. are Narita (Tokyo-Yokohama), Kansai (Osaka-Kobe), and
Chubu (Nagoya). In addition to serving passengers to both
countries, they are vital hubs for trans-pacific passenger
traffic. In terms of passenger traffic to the U.S., 50
flights and 13,000 passengers per day arrive in the United
States from Narita (second only to London Heathrow).
Disruption of these airports, therefore, would have serious
consequences for the U.S. and Asia.

¶11. (U) Cargo traffic through these airports is also a vital
economic link. In 2007, roughly USD 20 billion of shipments,
or almost 13 percent by value of all Japanese exports to the
U.S., went as air cargo out of Narita airport. By value,
more trade passes through this airport than through any other
port in Japan. Narita handles roughly twice the value of
global two-way trade as the port of Tokyo. Narita handles 72
percent more than Nagoya port, which processes the most trade
by value of any Japanese maritime port.

¶12. (U) Japan’s maritime ports are also vital economic links.
Japan’s five largest maritime ports are Tokyo, Yokohama,
Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe. In 2006, they processed over one
million containers (1.43 million TEU) to/from the U.S.

¶13. (SBU) Japan has established agencies and policies
providing for port security, both infrastructure protection
and border controls, consistent with international standards,
such as the International Ship and Port Facility Security
Code. Operational U.S. agencies such as Customs and Border
Protection, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S.
Coast Guard have ongoing dialogue and information sharing
programs with Japanese counterparts. Other examples of
specific initiatives to strengthen the security of ports and
shipping include the Megaport program. Japan looks to launch
a Megaports pilot project in Yokohama and is working with DHS
and DOE on plans.

Financial Market Infrastructure

¶14. (SBU) Financial markets are a clear example of other
infrastructures that closely connect the two economies. A
failure in Japan’s financial system infrastructure, or the
interruption of financial transaction clearing, would have
serious repercussions for the U.S. and the rest of the world.

¶15. (U) Establishment, maintenance, and protection of
financial system infrastructure have been left to the private
sector, under the supervision of the financial services
regulator, the Financial Services Agency, and the Bank of
Japan, which is responsible for the payments system.

Disasters and Threats in Japan

¶16. (U) Japan’s has a history of catastrophic natural
disasters. Historically, the greatest natural threats were
earthquakes and volcanoes, storms, and fires. The great
Kanto (Tokyo) earthquake of 1923 was of magnitude 7.9 and
killed roughly 105,000 people; the Hanshin (Kobe) earthquake
of 1995 was magnitude 7.3 and killed 6,437. Between 1996 and
2005, 20.8 percent of the world’s earthquakes of 6.0 or
greater occurred in Japan. Seven percent of the world’s
active volcanoes are located in Japan and Mt. Fuji, although
it last erupted in 1707-08, is still active and a threat to
the greater Tokyo area with its 30 million inhabitants.
Storms are another problem, with the 1959 Ise Bay Typhoon
taking 5,098 lives. There is a clear downward trend in the
numbers of lives lost in disasters in Japan, however.
Factors contributing to this development include improved
technology and engineering, stronger safety standards, and
better emergency preparations and response.

¶17. (SBU) Japan faces other types of threats, with pandemics

TOKYO 00000727 003 OF 003

one of the most serious. The SARS and Avian Influenza did
not greatly affect Japan, but the country is potentially
vulnerable to a pandemic. In addition, Japan has also
experienced terrorism, for example, with the taking of
hostages at the Japanese Embassy in Peru and the Sarin gas
attack in the Tokyo subway system. The 1995 Sarin attack
killed 12, injured 1,034, and undermined public confidence in
the safety of Japan’s mass transit system.

¶18. (SBU) Japan relies heavily on nuclear power for roughly
30 percent of its electricity needs. While Japan has never
had an attack on a nuclear facility, several Japanese
facilities have experienced safety incidents, some resulting
in fatalities and prolonged shutdowns. In the most recent
case, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant located in
Niigata Prefecture and the world’s largest in terms of
electrical generating capacity, remains off line following a
July 2007 earthquake. Also during summer 2007, the Hokkaido
Electric Power Company was criticized for failing to prevent
suspected arson at a reactor construction site at its Tomari
nuclear power plant.

¶19. (SBU) Japan’s political leaders and public profess
concern about the country’s continued dependence on imported
food as well as on imported oil. Some Japanese still recall
post-war shortages. However, as Japan is less than 40
percent self-sufficient in food production, despite concerns
about food security, Japan’s only practical resource security
will come from stable and reliable flows.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

¶20. (SBU) The GOJ has taken steps to prepare for such
threats. Japan has established legislative and
organizational frameworks for disaster management and
emergency response. The GOJ has developed response
capabilities at the national, regional, and local levels as
well. A Minister of State for Disaster Management oversees
disaster management efforts, coordinated by the Cabinet
Office, and involving 23 government entities and 63 public
and private corporations. The legal basis for Japan’s
Disaster Management System were set out in 1961 by the
Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act.

¶21. (SBU) Japanese bureaucracy and planning can be
inflexible, with the result that Japan may be still
vulnerable to threats that are less well understood, or which
require different sorts of preparation. A pandemic or a
major cyber attack would require different responses from
those appropriate to an earthquake, and could catch both the
GOJ and private sector unprepared. Such a situation in turn
could result in prolonged loss of critical systems or

¶22. (C) Comment: Highly advanced technology and its
application for industrial and consumer use has long been a
key factor in Japan’s economic growth and a reality for
leading U.S. and other companies. Disruption in the supply
lines would have significant consequences. Likewise, Japan’s
role as an international financial services and a
communications/transportation hub would mean an attack or
other serious development that disrupted these activities
here, would likely seriously affect the U.S. and other
allies. As the U.S. proceeds with the effort described in
ref, it may be useful to consider reaching out to Japan to
discuss steps we can take to prevent a possible disruption or
to mitigate the negative effects should one occur. End

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