TOKYO - Confidential documents including information linked to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade initiative might have been targeted in a suspected cyberattack on Japan's agriculture ministry, according to informed sources.
An official of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, however, said late Tuesday an internal investigation had already been conducted and it was unlikely there was no leakage of information from inside the ministry.
The sources said the information involved include internal documents compiled between October 2011 and April 2012.
It is likely the suspected cyberattack targeted documents regarding discussions within the government that led then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to reveal a decision in November 2011 to begin consultations with countries concerned with the TPP talks.
Also among the documents are those related to a meeting last April between Noda and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, where the TPP issue was on the agenda of their talks, they added.
Whether Japan should participate in the TPP talks is a major issue for the new government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, launched after the election victory by his Liberal Democratic Party in December.