Japan's Cabinet endorsed a bill Friday to enable the National Police Agency to set up a new bureau and team in April dedicated to responding to serious cybercrimes.
The bill is part of Japan's efforts to centralize police activities related to cybercrimes that are currently handled by multiple bureaus, with concern increasing about alleged state-sponsored attacks from China, North Korea and Russia.
After the revised police bill is passed by the Diet, the bureau and team will be launched on April 1.
The Cabinet endorsement came as reliance on online communication has grown due to the coronavirus pandemic, increasing opportunities for cybercrime.
With the reorganization, the police plan to beef up cybercrime investigations using advanced technology as well as cooperation with overseas counterparts.
The number of cybercrime cases confirmed by police nationwide stood at 12,275 in 2021, up about 20 percent from the year before.
Ransomware attacks, which employ malware to encrypt computer files and render them inaccessible until users pay ransoms, are becoming a serious problem, disrupting operations at hospitals and other institutions.