June 29, 2021

On June 29, the UN Security Council Open Debate on cyber security (Maintaining international peace and security in cyberspace) was held by Estonia. The outline is as follows:

  1. Opening remarks were given by Ms. Kaja Kallas, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia, which were followed by briefings by Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Under Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, as well as the High-Level Open Debate by the prime ministers, Cabinet ministers and UN representatives. In addition, non-Council members were given the opportunity to submit statements, which many countries and organizations, including Japan submitted.
  2. During the Open Debate, most of the Council Members mentioned the importance of the reports adopted by consensus at the UN GGE and OEWG, on the application of international law in cyberspace and the importance of protecting critical infrastructure from cyber operations, as in the past UN GGE and OEWG discussions. On the other hand, some countries mentioned their opposition to the application of international humanitarian law in cyberspace and their proposal to formulate legally binding norms through the OEWG discussion.
  3. Japan submitted a statement (PDF) Open a New Window including the following contents. Japan welcomed the adoption of the reports by the UN GGE and the OEWG, and highly valued the affirmation of the agreement on the application of international law and development of the content. Japan and many other countries that participated in the 6th GGE have announced their views on the application of international law in cyberspace, and the voluntary announcement by other countries would be beneficial for further related discussion. Japan's position on the international law applicable to cyber operations is as follows: (1) A State must not violate the sovereignty of another State by cyber operations. Moreover, a State must not intervene in matters within domestic jurisdiction of another State by cyber operations; and (2) Internationally wrongful acts committed by a State in cyberspace entail State responsibility; and (3) States have a due diligence obligation regarding cyber operations under international law; and (4) Any international disputes involving cyber operations must be settled through peaceful means pursuant to Article 2(3) of the UN Charter, and in order to ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes, the powers of the Security Council based on Chapters VI and VII of the UN Charter and the functions of the other UN organs should be used in disputes stemming from cyber operations.

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