As Japan seeks the United States’ help to bolster its cyberwarfare capabilities amid what it says are continuing cyberattacks from China, the Japanese defence minister travelled to Washington on Wednesday to urge greater cooperation. The minister, Takeshi Iwaya, said his nation was aiming to increase its cybersecurity force to 2,000 members as the electronic capabilities of various countries, including China, were growing every year. “So we must strengthen our cyberforces with considerable speed for that purpose,” Iwaya told an audience at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. “We look forward to cooperation and support from the United States.” Iwaya, who is on a five-day trip to the US, also met with his US counterpart, Patrick Shanahan, the acting defence secretary who replaced James Mattis on January 1, at the Pentagon on Wednesday. The defence minister’s visit comes as Japan is increasing its defence capabilities, including in cyberwarfare, while stepping up its condemnation of what it says are China-based cyberattacks. “Japan has identified continuous attacks by the group known as APT10 on various domestic targets,” Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Takeshi Osuga said in December after the US Justice Department announced criminal indictments against two suspected hackers associated with the Chinese government. APT10 – or Advanced Persistent Threat 10 – is the name given to a group of Chinese hackers first identified by the American cybersecurity firm FireEye. ‘This must stop’: China accused of ‘huge hacks to steal trade secrets’ The Justice Department accused APT10 of acting on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) in coordinating espionage activity around the world for more than a decade. Tokyo continues to urge Beijing to take “responsible” actions against the cyberattacks. “All the G20 members, including China, have affirmed their commitment to the prohibition of ICT-enabled theft of intellectual property, and are required to take responsible actions as a member of the international community,” Osuga said on December 21, using an acronym for information and communication technology. APT10 was “likely involved” in a hacking incident that targeted the Japan Business Federation in 2016, Kyodo News reported on Sunday, citing unnamed cybersecurity experts. US’ hacking claims fabricated, says Beijing as Chinese duo face charges The federation, a business lobbying group, said in November 2016 that internal data had been leaked from personal computers, Kyodo reported. Its investigative team found a large volume of suspicious data communications between 10 external servers and 23 infected PCs. The type of virus detected and servers involved in the cyberattack on the Japan Business Federation were identical to those used in past APT10 cases, the report said.