TOKYO (AP) -- Japan has launched a new counterterrorism unit, with an air of secrecy over the 24 members who could only be photographed from behind.
Japan is expanding its international espionage after being shocked by the deaths of five Japanese citizens at the hands of Islamic militants this year.
The recent Paris attacks also raised fears ahead of a Group of Seven summit in Japan next year and the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
The new Counterterrorism Unit-Japan was formally launched Tuesday in the Foreign Ministry and includes staff from the foreign and defense ministries, the National Police Agency and the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, Japan's version of the CIA.
Officials say the espionage unit is the first in Japan that specializes in intelligence related to terrorism and public safety.