Japan plans to speed up its efforts to create a unit dedicated to gathering intelligence about terror attacks in the wake of the deadly assaults in Paris last week that killed at least 129 people, a government spokesman reportedly said Thursday. Friday’s attack on Paris has ramped up terrorism concerns across the world, with global leaders stepping up their fight against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga did not reveal when the unit would be set up, but earlier local reports had claimed that the unit could be in place as early as February next year and have about 20 staff.
"Given recent developments, we believe it is extremely important to strengthen the government's intelligence capabilities," Suga told reporters, according to Reuters. "Regarding the unit for international terrorism information gathering, we would like to accelerate our effort so that it can be established in a speedy manner."
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government announced the decision to set up the intelligence-gathering unit after ISIS killed Japanese hostages. The Sunni-militant group claimed responsibility for the well-coordinated shootings and attacks in Paris last week.
Japan’s new terrorism intelligence unit will have officials from the defense ministry, national police agency and other government organizations, in addition to the foreign ministry's own staff, the Nikkei business daily, a local newspaper, reported.
The latest concern over terrorism comes as Japan is scheduled to host a series of high-profile events such as the Group of Seven (G-7) summit meeting next year, the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin created a commission to fight and follow the money trail of terrorism financing. The move came after Putin accused 40 countries, including members of the G-20, of providing financial support to ISIS. His comments came Monday during the G-20 meeting in Turkey.
Meanwhile, France and Russia beefed up its airstrikes in the Syrian city of Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold.
Following Friday’s deadly attacks, French President François Hollande declared that his country was now “at war” with ISIS, and vowed to intensify operations in Syria.