Japan Moves to Block Hackers

Japan took emergency steps today to stop hacker attacks on government Web sites after someone invaded a site and posted more messages accusing the Japanese of denying wartime atrocities.

Hackers have broken into government Web sites at least three times since Monday, posting slogans criticizing Japan’s war record, erasing data and connecting viewers to the Playboy magazine site.

The government convened an emergency meeting today to discuss beefing up computer security, said spokeswoman Setsuko Koike of Japan’s Science and Technology Agency, whose site was the target of today’s intrusion. The national police set up a special headquarters to investigate the embarrassing intrusions, police said.

Return to Scene of Crime

The Science and Technology site had been shut down Monday after an earlier attack, Koike said. But today, the “closed for repairs” sign on the page had been replaced by a tract in Chinese and English accusing Japan of shirking responsibility for the so-called Rape of Nanking, Koike said.

The garbled English part of the message called the Japanese people a “disgrace.” It was almost identical to a message posted Tuesday on the Management and Coordination Agency’s site.

Chinese and some Western historians say Japanese imperial soldiers killed as many as 300,000 people during Tokyo’s 1937-38 occupation of the Chinese city of Nanking, now called Nanjing.

Revising History

A postwar tribunal in Tokyo said more than 140,000 were killed. But many right-wing groups and revisionist academics in Japan deny the killings or say the death toll was inflated. On Sunday, some 300 people packed an auditorium in Osaka to hear former soldiers and a historian deny that the Rape of Nanking took place.

Officials said this week’s hacker intrusions are the first ever to affect the Japanese government.

The intrusions come as the government is discussing a plan to bring the country’s defenses against hackers up to par with the United States. Despite its high-tech prowess, Japan is widely seen as lagging behind the West in efforts to block cyber-crimes.

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