Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Cybersecurity Matchmaking Forum

Tokyo, 10 November 2015

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for your warm welcome and for the opportunity to speak at this important forum.

Today I heard that Japan is going for gold in 2020. But I’m not talking about medals in athletics, gymnastics or table tennis. This time it’s something completely different. By the time it hosts the Olympic Games here in Tokyo, Japan wants to be the world’s most advanced country in ICT. That’s a commendable ambition.

And it’s certainly not beyond Japan’s reach. After all, this is the country that gave us Sony, the QR code and the selfie stick. Koichi Endo, Japan’s Chief Information Officer, has outlined some inspiring challenges, like wireless charging systems and extending free Wi-Fi to the very top of Mount Fuji.

But boosting internet access also makes us vulnerable. This will certainly be a concern in 2020, when millions of locals and thousands of athletes and spectators are using this city’s communications network and infrastructure. This is the fourth time in two years that a delegation of Dutch cyber professionals is visiting Japan. And with good reason.

The internet has greatly improved our prosperity and wellbeing. In fact, it’s transformed our way of life.Giving us more social contact. Pointing us – literally – in the right direction. And opening up new forms of trade and ways to save energy.

But it’s also brought new forms of dependency and new security risks. Vital sectors like our infrastructure, communications and banks depend on having a functioning network. Both the Netherlands and Japan have witnessed this first hand, with cyber attacks on their government and businesses. Attacks that could potentially bring our entire society to a halt. And fuel cyber crime and terrorism. So I’m not exaggerating when I say we face a serious cyber security challenge.

But although it’s a cause for concern, it also presents new opportunities. For collaboration between Japan and the Netherlands, for example. When it comes to the internet and cyberspace, the Netherlands is a frontrunner in Europe, if not the world. Our country is Europe’s number-one internet hub, with the fastest connections. We also have a highly skilled ICT workforce and a flourishing creative industry. So cyber security is serious business for my government.

That’s why this year the Netherlands hosted the Global Conference on CyberSpace, in the city of The Hague. There, leaders from all over the world confirmed that the cyber security challenge is a global challenge.

And that we all need to work together – businesses, universities and governments – to make sure the internet remains free, open and secure. So it’s good that the leading players in the Japanese and Dutch ICT sectors are here today to help shape that cross-border cooperation. There have already been successes.

Like the Japanese Control System Security Center and the Hague-based European Network for Cyber Security, working with private industry to make critical infrastructure cyber secure. Earlier I spoke to the CEOs of Dutch start-up RedSocks and the Japanese Networld Corporation. RedSocks has developed Malware Threat Defender technology that protects companies against the cyber threats of today and tomorrow.

An attractive concept here in Japan.Which is why Networld has teamed up with RedSocks to distribute this solution.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need more partnerships like these. Together we can keep the internet safe. And protect our prosperity, our privacy and our quality of life.

Thank you.