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Japan to bolster counter-terrorism measures

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Tokyo: The Japanese government will launch a new task force on December 8 that will take the lead in the country’s revamped counter-terrorism initiatives, the media reported on Saturday.

In the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will hold talks with French President Francois Hollande on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Paris, on plans to work with the international community on counter-terrorism initiatives, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new task force will consist of around 40 experts from the foreign and defence ministries, as well as the National Police Agency and other relevant authorities, and will be charged with gathering information pertaining to regions spanning the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and South Asia, sources with knowledge of the matter said Saturday.


The task force will receive orders directly from the prime minister.

Following the killing of two Japanese hostages by the Islamic State militant group earlier this year, the government decided the new task force was necessary to collect information in a consolidated manner, with the new entity also designed to be an intelligence hub for other countries in the exchange of information.

Initially, it was scheduled to be launched in April 2016.