Three Japanese websites stopped working today as hackers claiming affiliation with the collective Anonymous step up attacks to protest the country’s whale hunting.
Japan External Trade Organization’s website appeared to be down for some users on Wednesday at 10:48 a.m. The websites for Japan’s National Tax Agency and Japan Securities Finance Co.’s site stopped working earlier on the same day.
An anonymous Twitter user claiming to be affiliated with the hacking group Anonymous took responsibility for the website crashes, according to tweets posted Wednesday morning. The same hacker, protesting against Japan’s whale and dolphin hunts, has claimed responsibility for past cyber attacks on the websites of Japanese companies and government institutions, including those of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Ministry of Finance, the Financial Services Agency and Nissan Motor Co.
The person said over Twitter that the latest attacks are mostly targeting the government and "their wallets because money is what they care about." The person said there would be more such attacks and declined to disclose his or her identity.
Japanese whale and dolphin hunting has continued despite international criticism. Decades of over-hunting has left species including blue, fin and humpback whales endangered and triggered an international campaign to save the animals that culminated with a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. Since the ban however, Japan has killed thousands of whales by taking advantage of that treaty’s exception on whaling for scientific research.