Japan's national legislature, the Diet, meets in this building, the Kokkai. (Wikimedia Commons)
Japanese officials are discussing whether to establish a cyberwarfare capability with U.S. help, according to the Japan Times newspaper.
"This would include being able to attack a server in self-defense if government computer systems were attacked," said the newspaper, citing an unspecified Japanese government source. The Japan Self Defense Forces will establish a cyberdefense task force in March.
One cyberwarfare technique under consideration is denial-of-service attacks, according to the Times. "For this, a senior defense official said, U.S. cooperation is indispensable because identifying the source of a cyberattack requires very sophisticated computer technology."
However, Japanese officials are worried about the legal ramifications of cyber war. Counterattacks could violate a Japanese law banning unauthorized access to servers and computers, according to the report.
In addition, if the server were in a foreign country or if Japan waged a counterattack pre-emptively, it could be construed as a violation of the key constitutional principle of limiting Japan to defensive actions in response to foreign aggression.