Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden speaks during an exclusive interview with Kyodo News in Moscow on May 29. Photo: Kyodo
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Whistleblower Snowden warns of looming mass surveillance in Japan

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beautify his betrayal act. live on the internet not moscow, biggest joke.

-48 ( +6 / -54 )

beautify his betrayal act. live on the internet not moscow, biggest joke.

Agreed. Welcome to an age where deceit and betrayal can elevate you to hero status. This guy and Assange

have blood on their hands.

-45 ( +9 / -54 )

Putting aside for a second the guy himself, his message is on the mark. BUT the average Japanese person is not going to see or hear much about what he is talking about and for that matter don't seem to really care that their government is slowly but surely taking away their individual rights under the umbrella of safety.

The events in the world, terror attacks, recent and in the past, just make it easier for the government here to push controversial bills through government and make into law.

The average person really doesnt give a guano as they never feel it will affect them, until it's too late.

33 ( +36 / -3 )

Well done, Gillespie and mtuffizi, you'd rather we remain in blissful ignorance of what's really going on. I remember when I was a child asking my mother why we were fighting the communists. She told me how terrible it was in a communist country. "There are secret police everywhere," she said. "If you say anything, even a small thing against the government, they'll come to your house in the middle of the night and take you away to a prison somewhere. There's no legal recourse. There's nothing you can do about it."

The patriot act and this horrendous conspiracy bill are just what we were fighting against in the 1950's.

Our only chance for any kind of real freedom is for people like Assange and Snowden to stand up and speak.

25 ( +32 / -7 )

A great hero, a man who ruined his own life through a brave decision to speak out. Sadly, his message about what is happening will receive little attention in this country:

"Igeta Daisuke, a Japanese lawyer who specializes in civil liberties cases, said that the XKEYSCORE revelation was “very important” for the country. The Japanese government’s use of the system could violate Japan’s Constitution, which protects privacy rights, Daisuke told The Intercept. He added that Japan has a limited legal framework covering surveillance issues, largely because the scope of the government’s spying has never before been disclosed, debated, or ruled upon by judges. “Japanese citizens know almost nothing about Japanese government surveillance,” said Daisuke. “It is extremely secret.”

https://theintercept.com/2017/04/24/japans-secret-deals-with-the-nsa-that-expand-global-surveillance/

28 ( +34 / -6 )

As an American what is coming to Japan is really not much compared to what is already happening in the United States. After 9/11 we enacted draconian laws and engaged in mass surveillance of the population. In 2012 the former CIA Director David Petraeus had the audacity to go on a national TV show and state that he could not wait to use the emerging technologies (Internet of Things) to spy on Americans through their appliances. I had thought when President Obama was elected some of this might be reversed, but oh no, President Obama doubled down on surveillance and I have no doubt this would continue under Trump.

So what does this have to do with Japan? Quite a bit as it is a predictor of where Japan will be once Japan starts down the slippery slope (which they have already).

So mtuffizi - you complain about "beautifying" his act? What about the acts that U.S. government employees engage in daily violating the rights of American citizens? I think there is a lot to complain about in that regard.

28 ( +29 / -1 )

Japan really has changed in the last several years. And it seems to me to heavily take its cues from America. Whether it be intelligence or economic programs, laws and constitution...

Is it just me or does anyone else feel this is the case in a way?

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Snowden finds the current situation in Japan reminiscent of what he went through in the United States following the terror attacks on Sept 11, 2001.

That is absolutely terrifying.

On Japan's anti-conspiracy bill, Snowden said it should include strong guarantees of human rights and privacy and ensure that those guarantees are "not enforced through the words of politicians but through the actions of courts."

Exactly. If the Abe regime doesn't plan to use these laws to implement draconian surveillance measures, why not just include these fail-safes?

But he insists that privacy is not about something to "hide" but about "protecting" an open and free society where people can be different and can have their own ideas.

an open and free society where people can be different and can have their own ideas is not what Japan is known for.

"When you say 'I don't care about privacy, because I've nothing to hide,' that's no different than saying you don't care about freedom of speech, because you've nothing to say," he added.

Beautiful words. I'm goin' to use them the next time someone tells me "I don't care about privacy, because I've nothing to hide"

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Japan really has changed in the last several years. And it seems to me to heavily take its cues from America. Whether it be intelligence or economic programs, laws and constitution...

Is it just me or does anyone else feel this is the case in a way?

No its not just you. I agree 100%

14 ( +16 / -2 )

@theperson - I have lived in Japan nearly 20 years and I feel the same way you do. Although I feel Japan is quite a bit behind the U.S. in mass surveillance some of the recent laws are quite draconian and I am sure Japan is on its way to catching up. While those on the "left" and "right" sit around and bicker at each other the government machine carries on with treachery against the general population. The "left/right" paradigm is one of the best ways to ensure that ordinary citizens do not "keep their eye on the ball". I think the transition from President Bush to President Obama was a classic example of this in the U.S. The latter carried on with and accelerated Bush's policies. Unfortunately Trump is quite open about how he wishes to expand the police state. After all the Utah data center is up and running and there are terabytes upon terabytes of data storage to be populated with information.

In Japan I think the distraction lies in other areas (perhaps the Bread and Circuses analogy is more appropriate). The culture of Japan also does not lend itself to the general population standing up and making noise, although recently there are small glimmers of hope.

On the other hand maybe there are some people that think this is "just ok"

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

-16 ( +4 / -20 )

my partner and japanese friends are absolutely shocked when i tell them about these things. japanese MSM has zero coverage. we all know about japans number 76 position in press freedom.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

"It's important to understand that I don't really live in Moscow. I live on the internet," he said.

This guy is Neo.

Seriously tho, I don't think we have to worry about our phone calls being under surveillance. Nobody in the Japanese government can understand English worth a darn...

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Evinced the extensive surveillance campaign by USA on it's counterparts both in Europe and Asia. A true freedom fighter!! Individuality is what defines the world prespective, if it wasn't for individual thougts we wouldn't for instance had had; Communism, democracy, space exploration, imperialism and so on. Peoples who challenge the norms and laws of society is what truly shapes us as individual beings!! It's time to challenge the norms and laws presented by fascist LDP prime minister Shinzo Abe!!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Tokyo Engr and Aly Rustom

Its not like it's my train of thought, but I am a Japanese American and so I wanted to see if this was just maybe my way of thinking, or is it here more to it.

I am not talking about the day to day news, but rather more when you sit back and observe the last five years for example.

Its something that transcends whomever the politician(s), leaders, or presidents may be at the particular time.

Is it more of a teaming up of ideology, technology, and the way that the countries are run?

In any case, it seems to be clear to me that Japan is taking its cues from America in many huge things. Be it this conspiracy law to re arming to how to curb China's influence.

Maybe Japan has to tow the line American style in order to get full American support? And hey, we need it!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

People who have nothing to hind don't need privacy and rights? You're assuming (I believe wrongly) that the people in power are good people.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

You must have missed this part of the article:

"Freedom of speech would not mean much if people do not have the space to figure out what they want to say, or share their views with others they trust, to develop them before introducing them into the context of the world, he said.

"When you say 'I don't care about privacy, because I've nothing to hide,' that's no different than saying you don't care about freedom of speech, because you've nothing to say," he added."

11 ( +11 / -0 )

This is no surprise! This is has been going on for years. If you are a foreigner who has lived in Japan for some time then you have already experienced it. Japan has been sharing American personal information like fingerprints and financial records for a while. America has been doing the same for visiting Japanese citizens. Now it is the native's turn to lose more of their privacy. It will be interesting to see considering Japan has generally been a society that has always respected the personal privacy of it's citizen. Only it's citizens!!!!

I am just wondering if the average Joe Blow will even see it, recognize it, resist it or care about it when it is finally here in all its glory.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@ BertieWooster

The patriot act and this horrendous conspiracy bill are just what we were fighting against in the 1950's.

I am afraid you betray your mindset a little there. You are focusing on a very different time and a very different set of circumstances. Political idealogies have largely given way to secular and radical idealogies more dangerous than the political ones ever were. This poor man's 007 was happy to sign an official secrets act and take a salary from the CIA only to betray his country. I have no regard at all for the information he leaked in the same way I have no regard for stolen goods offered to me in a bar on a Friday night. No matter what their value is, the manner by which they were obtained is abhorrent to me.

....you'd rather we remain in blissful ignorance of what's really going on.

Ignorance? Seriously...? You think any of us needed this man to share his knowledge of how the world really works for us to achieve some sort of enlightenment, for us to realise that 'the man' was watching us, that we have no freedom? It has always been thus and it will always be thus. He told us very little of any real value we didn't already know or at least already strongly suspect. You give him WAY too much credit, you really do....

@ Alfie Noakes

A great hero, a man who ruined his own life through a brave decision to speak out.

Somebody who goes into a burning building to rescue somebody is a hero. This guy is probably responsible for the deaths of men and women who, whether you agree with their politics or not, were serving their country in much the same way he was being paid to. Locking him up and throwing the key away would be giving him more consideration than he is deserving of....

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

XKS, NSA data analytical intercept surveillance models and tools are in many respects legacy superseded by artificially intelligent system capabilities that have adaption machine learning algorithms. Government nosey parkers are utilizing decision tree analysis, linar and logistic regression, random forest, and thats at University classrooms in Nagoya let alone MIT. All making that needle in a haystack easier to find.

 It is saddening that Edward Snowden, indeed a gifted developer lacked the moral courage to stand by his convictions and face the music .

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

@ Itsonlyrocknroll

It is saddening that Edward Snowden, indeed a gifted developer lacked the moral courage to stand by his convictions and face the music

Absolutely! Now that might have made him the hero that everybody seems to think he is. Instead, he ran off to Putin, handing his nation's arch nemesis a major PR coup in the process..

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

@theperson -  "I am not talking about the day to day news, but rather more when you sit back and observe the last five years for example.:"

100% agree with you.....it is a creeping phenomenon and must be so. I believe the governments are well aware that implementing these policies "suddenly" would doom them to failure. Incremental implementation for these types of laws/activities is probably the only way (short of establishing a dictatorship) for these policies to succeed.

Anyway your comment about observing over 5 years resonates completely with me

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Who cares if we are under surveillance if we are not doing anything wrong? Better surveillance than a free rein for terrorists, criminals, tax dodgers and the like!

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Coverage of this bill in Japanese media only seems to mention "terror". The list of crimes was printed in the paper earlier this week and less than half of them have anything to do with "terror". Did you know that patent infringement is in there? Nothing to do with "terror" at all, but the media is silent. Of course, it's all unconstitutional, but the courts won't do anything to stop it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

When they put cameras on the trains to protect the inebriated, I said something. When they put them in the streets to protect people from "thieves", I said nothing. Now that they've installed them into every room in my house, Including 2 in the bathroom and 3 in the bedroom, I say "I've got nothing to hide, make your porno".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ah, Snowden. He's not wrong, you know. But the surveillance measures will be lauded and justified. In fact, it will be portrayed as a reasonable response to the nebulous threat of terror.

Meanwhile, the future of the planet is at stake - millions will suffer, possibly lose their lives over the years to come. Who will be heroic enough to fight their cause when the applause dies down?

Authoritarians on the rise and as long the ascension is met with cheers and at the least, apathy - the world turns ever closer to a dark future.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Gillespie:

This guy and Assange

have blood on their hands.

Assange is a self-righteous deckhid, and makes no bones about it.

Snowden is crossed a line which ideally he should not have crossed. However, he inspires far less distaste.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Authoritarians on the rise and as long the ascension is met with cheers and at the least, apathy - the world turns ever closer to a dark future.

Bread and circuses. Force is unnecessary as most will gladly submit. Huxley put FWD the more accurate vision of the future, compared to Orwell:

http://highexistence.com/amusing-ourselves-to-death-huxley-vs-orwell/

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Snowden just doesn't understand Japanese culture. Surveillance has been a traditional past-time for centuries.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Agreed. Welcome to an age where deceit and betrayal can elevate you to hero status. This guy and Assange

have blood on their hands.

BS, as opposed to the US govt .that doesnt, hey?

A great hero, a man who ruined his own life through a brave decision to speak out. Sadly, his message about what is happening will receive little attention in this country:

Our only chance for any kind of real freedom is for people like Assange and Snowden to stand up and speak.

-Exactly right.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Now that might have made him the hero that everybody seems to think he is. Instead, he ran off to Putin, handing his nation's arch nemesis a major PR coup in the process.

Those people who are spying on you and trying to control you are the ones saying Putin is bad.

Better surveillance than a free rein for terrorists, criminals, tax dodgers and the like!

The terrorists, criminals, tax dodgers, and the like are the ones who are spying on you, making sure they continue to have free rein...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Edward Snowden took a career path that brought him into contact with American national security community and the undertakings commitments that involves. Snowden should have stuck to those choices or walked away he only has himself to blame.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

bertiewoodster - agreed communist countries are horrible. now he escaped to moscow

and let russia used him. how good is russia? respects human right? not

invade privacy? a real freedom country? by choosing russia he really betrayed his belief. or was there any?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

bertiewoodster - agreed communist countries are horrible. now he escaped to moscow

Well, Russia isn't communist. Hasn't been for some time. I wouldn't say there's ever been a true communist country. It's a great idea but the ideals tend to get corrupted and you get grotesque dictatorships. Mind you, capitalism doesn't work either. Some system which takes the best of both ideologies is probably more likely to succeed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tony W. Today 09:24 am JST

'Who cares if we are under surveillance if we are not doing anything wrong? Better surveillance than a free rein for terrorists, criminals, tax dodgers and the like!'

But what if it was 'terrorists, criminals and tax dodgers' that constructed and ran the government? And also whenever you went into the bathroom for the most private of private functions you would not mind being observed there too? Or, in the name of gathering statistics for the 'health of the nation' how many times normally 'private acts' with your wife or girlfriend or such as same sex relationships.....all, all would be ok to be observed by 'the government'? After all....you would be doing 'nothing wrong'....at least not by to-days standards!!!

Those concerned about 'mass surveillance' in Japan need not worry too much. The 'world' would know (thanks to such as Mr Snowden) and Japan would find its Tourist Trade plummet, its once wealthy subjects poverty stricken and attempts to flee the country useless; its representative abroad shunned at conferenece tables.

So it is in the interests of those wanting to bring such measures in not to bring in that which will inevitably lead to their own diminishing status they so desperately strive to presently protect. Recent examples of the UK's own 'surveillance' measures had the perpetrators of recent atrocities being 'waved' under the security services noses but they still got away with their crimes. 'Legislators' are full of silly people like the MP who thought the death penalty should be brought in for suicide bombers!

Protect your privacy at all costs....no-one else will accept for the warnings of people prepared to be stateless such as Mr Snowden. With his experties he could make a lot of money providing he turned a b;ind eye to what he realised was wrong. The truth matters...even if we do not like it. To live under regmies that constantly strive to live in a carefully constructed web of lies would lead to the end of civilization as what would we have to protect it? No-one can protect that which they do not know the reality of.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Raw Beer, "The terrorists, criminals, tax dodgers, and the like are the ones who are spying on you, making sure they continue to have free rein..."

Oh.......How true that is......unfortunately we are all too busy fighting each other (i.e. "right" fighting "left") while the global elite, who are members of both sides of the equation, have their way with us.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

beautify his betrayal act. live on the internet not Moscow, biggest joke. No what the joke is , SNowden just exposed the illegal doings of the US intelligence community against its own citizens yet who has been arrested or imprisoned over that? Too many steeple with the wool pulled over their eyes

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well, Russia isn't communist.  No its a dictatorship, just as bad

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This news isn't about Snowden, it's about you, and the fact that you and I are being recorded right now.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Nothing is wrong about surveillance in Japan. If you feel as if something is wrong then maybe you shouldn't be going there.

Japan is focused on being efficient in crime stopping. With that power of prevention comes a risk to privacy but most natives wouldn't question that risk. If it keeps bad guys from stalking a girl then why not. If it stops a a gang or located a drug ring then why not.

If Japan was ruled by criminals, what would their plan be? Seek money and power? Are they not already at the top? Would they invest in surveillance only so less tourists would come and the economy would fall? Japan rules by focusing on self improvement. Those in charge realize that surveillance is a picky subject but may be the only way to go forward.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Oh.......How true that is......unfortunately we are all too busy fighting each other (i.e. "right" fighting "left") while the global elite, who are members of both sides of the equation, have their way with us.

Exactly! It was always about dividing and conquering. They spent decades dumbing us down beforehand. Now you see the results.

Those who don't believe we have a right to privacy and that they have nothing to hide. Do you mind if I come into your house and look through your personal things? I won't take too much of your time, I can do it while you're out and your wife is at home... idiots.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So basically he is saying that Japan may become America? God save us..

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I get what everyone is saying here. I am a big supporter of privacy and warrants and evidence. Yet when it is known that the USA is misusing their intelligence capabilities to spy on its people and the world illegally, few of you seem to care. Is it because Obama did it and he must have had everyone's best interest at heart when he did it? If you somehow are made to trust whoever is doing it then it is ok? (This is a serious question, not a political one)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

thepersoniamnow

Its not like it's my train of thought, but I am a Japanese American and so I wanted to see if this was just maybe my way of thinking, or is it here more to it.

No mate. There's way more to it.

I am not talking about the day to day news, but rather more when you sit back and observe the last five years for example.

This is key.  I remember a documentary about a german granddaughter who asked and admonished her german grandmother about how her (grandmother's) generation could allow the third reich to do what they did, and why no one stood up to them.

The grandma's response was harrowing..

"You don't understand," she said. "It's not like we woke up and found Germany transformed under the Nazis. It was tiny steps at a time. A few rights here, a few there, until one morning we woke up and realized we were living under a reign of terror, but by then it was too late to stop them."

This is what I fear is happening, only Abe is steamrolling his fascist agenda through super fast, not covertly, but quickly in hopes that no one will be able to stop him.

This is no surprise! This is has been going on for years. If you are a foreigner who has lived in Japan for some time then you have already experienced it. Japan has been sharing American personal information like fingerprints and financial records for a while. America has been doing the same for visiting Japanese citizens.

Exactly

Now it is the native's turn to lose more of their privacy. It will be interesting to see considering Japan has generally been a society that has always respected the personal privacy of it's citizen. Only it's citizens!!!!

See that's the MO. When they started on temp contracts it was only for the foreign workers here. After a few years they realized that they could do the same to the citizenry and save a lot of money. That reform was implemented by the Muppet Koizumi who oversaw the dismantling of the economy by deregulating the hiring procedures while also implementing the fingerprinting for us.

I am just wondering if the average Joe Blow will even see it, recognize it, resist it or care about it when it is finally here in all its glory.

Probably not. Some will, but the J-Gov has their own thugs to deal with people like that, called the Uyoku Dantai. They can be turned onto anyone who tries to take back the night.

however the japanese people will have no one to blame but themselves for letting their country fall to ruin.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well, it's one thing to say something about the US - he lived in the US

It's another thing to say something about Japan - he never lived in Japan

He lives in Russia now - warn the Russians

Why is he more concerned what's happening in Japan than what's happening in Russia

If ya have to warn people, have more concern for those people living around you - worry about them first, don't worry as much for other people

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The historical record of Japan does not auger well for a thriving democracy in the foreseeable future. I would bet on increasing surveillance leading to a police-state, or if that isn't sufficient for Japan's ruling class to sleep easy at night, a full-blown military coup. In Japan tradition rules!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I thought America encouraged whistle blowers so that the evils of the world can be seen and stopped. Then we come to realize they meant not when the whistle is blown like a fog horn at them.

Anyway, if the law is vague the government will do as it likes. Better shut that flood gate now before it starts or else you will have a heck of a time trying later.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

when it is known that the USA is misusing their intelligence capabilities to spy on its people and the world illegally, few of you seem to care. Is it because Obama did it and he must have had everyone's best interest at heart when he did it

Wherever did you get the idea that 'few of us seem to care'? There was pretty widespread complaints about it world wide.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Japan127

You seem to trust the government quite a bit.

Since you see nothing wrong with it, why don't you install a webcam in your house and turn over the feed to your local government?

Humans are corrupt! Politicians are just people.

In a perfect world, yes crime prevention would be simple, but we know now that power is abused and that's why the people protect themselves. We have had thousands of years of being ruled by Monarchs and if you wanna go back to totalitarian ways, then go ahead, but please buy an island first.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@lostrune2

Edward Snowden DID live in Japan.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nothing is wrong about surveillance in Japan. If you feel as if something is wrong then maybe you shouldn't be going there.

Citizens and residents should be able to question the motives of government, no matter where they live. It's a fundamental human right.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If Japan was ruled by criminals, what would their plan be? Seek money and power? Theyre called politicians

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This bloke is have the biggest set of. I personal thank Mr Snowden for put his life on the line and who for. US, that who. What does he get out of it. He get kick out of his country trying to advise his follow citizen of the wholesale theft of our identity to sell onto other world agency like Mosad, Asio, and M5- 7. This bloke is my Hero

"When you say 'I don't care about privacy, because I've nothing to hide,' that's no different than saying you don't care about freedom of speech, because you've nothing to say,"  "Quote" "Mr Edward Snowden Hero to the free world."

This is a Historic statement that going to be quote into the ages

2 ( +3 / -1 )

wait for the Constitution change and now with the abdication of the sitting Emporer it is only a matter of time that Imperialism will take shape and form; unless, unless Japan continues its movement lean towards China and will be paying tribute homeage to the motherland Japanese will call China.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is focused on being efficient in crime stopping. yet Japan is ranked one of the lowest first world countries in terms of political corruption, add to that the very high forced confession rates by the J police, Id say Japan is still inefficient in crime prevention.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He was a low level part time contractor for the US and now he is an expert on surveillance issues?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Yeah Snowden living in Japan or not is kinda an off limits topic still, not touching that one.

Wherever did you get the idea that 'few of us seem to care'? There was pretty widespread complaints about it world wide.

I get the idea every time that people refuse to admit that Obama and his NSA illegally surveilled people. Also a when they keep bringing up excuses as to why they must have had a legitimate reason to break the law. When Dems want subpoenas for Russia investigations but try to block subpoenas for FBI/NSA/CIA records related to spying and illegal surveillance. More afraid it might indict Obama and tarnish his so called legacy than they are about the privacy rights of citizens.

They must have done something wrong, so its ok to illegally surveil them! If you not doing anything wrong, why are you worried if someone watching/listening to you all the time! These kind of attitudes are going to lead to the end of any privacy for anyone ever. Make Apple build a backdoor to access the Iphones of terrorists! Yep, then once they do its used on you too.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am curious, or maybe missing something. Whether or not Snowden lived in Japan seems to be very on topic if the topic of this article is his comments about surveillance in Japan.

I would think this is very much on topic as the fact he lived here gives him at least demonstrates some knowledge of Japan from a first hand point of view.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Criticism from UN special rapporteur revealed Abe government's arrogance and authoritarianism.

Abe government often admire Pre-War fascists regime,

Ruling party politicians with their worshipers expect crackdown against dissent.

They downplay freedom of expression and speech.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I am curious, or maybe missing something. Whether or not Snowden lived in Japan seems to be very on topic if the topic of this article is his comments about surveillance in Japan.

I was saying off limits, not off topic sorry if I wasnt clear. Im not going to be the one confirming that either way. Someone else above said he did live in Japan before, so if that is true it makes his insight even more relevant I agree.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He work for Dell at Yokota air base for 4 years 2009 -11

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@itsonlyrocknroll

It is saddening that Edward Snowden, indeed a gifted developer lacked the moral courage to stand by his convictions and face the music

I'm really shocked that you of all people would take this position. I hope I can convince you otherwise.

Snowden doesn't lack moral courage, and he has more than most people. His conviction is simply that democracy no longer exists when the secret activity of the state balloons to levels unimaginable by the ordinary citizens and even the elected representatives that supposedly write the laws. He is absolutely correct about that, isn't he? There is a difference between knowing that your government is engaged in collecting data and keeping the content of that collected data secret versus having your government engage in collection that no citizen or representative has any idea is even happening.

Snowden's claim is that American democracy, oversight and the legal system are now fundamentally broken and unconstitutional. You cannot say he lacks moral courage for refusing to submit himself to the judgement of a society which he claims is wholly different from the one he signed a social contract with. His decision to flee is could be evidence that he is not a hypocrite.

You can disgree on whether he is right, but failing to submit himself for trial (which would itself be highly secretive) really does not show a lack of moral courage unless you think we have a duty to submit ourselves to the society we used to live in regardless of how twisted it has become.

If someone fled Nazi Germany to escape trial for violating Nazi race laws that had been introduced without the democratic consent of the people in order to protect the 'racial purity' of Germany, I don't think they lack moral courage, do you? How is Snowden fundamentally different?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japanese Prime Minister spread lie that "G7 support conspiracy-law" "Criticism against conspiracy law is not consensus of UN".

and Abe government try to elude condemnation from UN.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan version Breitbart, Sankei newspaper repeats stupid slander against UN special rapporteur.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hi, M3M3M3, I am sure Edward Snowden thinks he is decent man. A likable man. Sorry M3 Edward Snowden is not a honourable man. I have no personal dislike for the man.

Edward Snowden is certainly an intelligent man. Intelligent enough to know the NSA is built around an infrastructure designed to target and intercept electronic communication in every nook and cranny on a global scale.

Edward Snowden decision to recklessly and irresponsibly leak classified information to a British newspaper is a crime.  And Edward Snowden skipped justice because of this very fact. He ran and hid.  

Former Secretary of State John Kerry “Edward Snowden is a coward, he is a traitor, and he has betrayed his country, if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so.”

Edward Snowden could have easily chosen a commercial application for his immense skills. However Edward Snowden chose to join a organization that is at the forefront of operational security for the war against terrorism. His leaks and disclosures put the lives of agents and informants, plus US national security at risk in fragrant disregarded for the pledges and oaths he under took.

Even if I possessed the exceptional abilities of Edward Snowden, I could not morally justify taking part in creating the tools that could be used to spy and invade the privacy of my friends, family and neighbours. So I have chosen a commercial path and created a company serving the financial industry. This is a role Mr Snowden could have chosen too.

I too could be accused of this same cowardice as Mr Snowden, in effect advocating a system of mass surveillance as long as I don't have to be part of the scrutiny process.

M3, you make valid points in Mr Snowden defence, this is why Mr Snowden should return and state a defence, I would respect him for that.     

I also agree with Edward Snowden analysis of Japan's anti-conspiracy bill, I believe  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been duplicitous in the bills broad application, also its possible use in smothering debate in the ongoing revision of Japan pacifist constitution.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Japan is focused on being efficient in crime stopping. With that power of prevention comes a risk to privacy but most natives wouldn't question that risk. 

Spoken as someone who knows nothing about Japan (or any country) would speak. First, crime is not stopped by the police or government. Crime is kept low by cultural factors. This is true of Japan, and true of all nations. There is little crime where cultural values prohibit it. Police and government surveillance cannot even prevent crime in North Korea, where the surveillance is pretty much complete.

And the "natives", as you call them, are getting restless. Japanese have far more concern for privacy rights than Americans, who don't seem to care about any rights any more, except those "rights" that allow self-indulgence and drug abuse.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If I one day mysteriously disappear from JT, please inform Edward.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@itsonlyrocknroll

Thanks for the reply. I have to disagree with you but your point of view is obviously shared by a number of people. The stakes here are so high since this goes to the fundamental character of what it is to live in a free and democratic society. I think continental Europeans like myself strongly support Snowden partly because we are intimately aware of what can happen when governments are allowed to break free from oversight and trample human rights. To answer a few of the points you raise:

Edward Snowden decision to recklessly and irresponsibly leak classified information to a British newspaper is a crime.

Strictly speaking I agree it was a crime, but breaking the law is not inherently dishonourable. I think it's easy to condemn Snowden legally, but almost impossible to condemn him morally.

He ran and hid. 

I don't think that's fair. Strictly speaking he didn't run since he was not being pursued until after he had already left America. He has also been very outspoken so I don't think it's fair to say he is in hiding. But in any case, he clearly put himself outside the reach of American authorities, but only because he knew that he would be far more effective in his continuing mission by doing this. It has little to do with dishonour or moral character in my opinion.

Also, what purpose would facing 'justice' or 'facing the music' serve? Especially in this case where we already know the likely outcome and the charges he would be convicted on are highly technical? It's not like some trials of the past where getting the court to record a verdict that enforces explicitly racist or sexist legislation was a useful way of shedding light on a particular issue.

However Edward Snowden chose to join a organization that is at the forefront of operational security for the war against terrorism. His leaks and disclosures put the lives of agents and informants, plus US national security at risk

Even assuming this is true, how much weight can the safety of government agents hold to justify a completely unconstitutional and secretive program in a democratic society? Remember, the program Snowden leaked was entirely illegal in the form it was operating in and had to be radically changed thanks to the leaks.

For instance, if the US government were to launch a ridiculous secret war on Gummy Bears without the knowledge or consent of citizens or their elected representatives, nobody would really care if a leak would put agents or informants in danger. Just because the 'war on terror' seems a bit more of a threat than the war on Gummy Bears doesn't justify allowing the government breaking the law with almost complete impunity and eroding the foundations of our society. This is a question that goes beyond the strict letter of the law because it's actually very easy for the government to protect itself through ineffective whistle blower reporting mechanisms.

in fragrant disregarded for the pledges and oaths he under took.

My understanding is that he didn't actually swear an oath in relation to the mass surveillance leaks, because he was only a contractor at the time. He admits to signing an employment contract stating only that he was 'aware' of secrecy legislation. However, he did swear an oath earlier when he worked directly for the CIA which was:

I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evaision; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

It's a very powerful oath. But also one that could work in Snowdens favour depending on how you look at it. The oath recognises that domestic enemies of the constitution are equally dangerous. It also draws a distinction between 'faith and allegiance to the Constitution' and 'true faith and allegiance to the Constitution'. In my opinion, Snowden has shown true faith and allegiance to the Constitution.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Firstly, just wanna say to everybody involved here well done on what has been - and continues to be - a well ordered, informative and challenging discussion...

The fundamental in all of this for me is that there seems to be a sliding scale of acceptability to betrayal here. If he was to hand data over to his nation's enemies for political or financial gain, he's a traitor. He hands data over to the underground media for his own, totally arbitrary reasons...and he's a hero!!

C'mon, people, why so naive? Whether we know about it or not, we are all under surveillance. Does knowing about it change anything? Of course not. We in the west have undoubtedly benefitted from the increased surveillance that has, I have no doubt, prevented any number of terrorist acts on a par with 911. That justifies a little more government involvment in our lives than we might normally be comfortable with....

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

my partner and japanese friends are absolutely shocked when i tell them about these things. japanese MSM has zero coverage. we all know about japans number 76 position in press freedom

Which just means your friends are out of the loop or pay absolutely no attention to world news and live in their own bubble. Either that or they are being so very Japanese, and playing games with you, it's one or the other.

http://www.msn.com/ja-jp/news/world

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mass surveillance is there to protect the people of Japan. We should embrace it and not be fearful. It is for our safety. I am an ordinary Japanese man with a job and a wife and two children. I trust our government and I believe that only those engaged in questionable activities should be worried.

Mr. Snowden really seems like a bit of a troublemaker up to no good who has caused many problems for his own country.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

@ tiger_tanaka

Yes, broadly speaking I agree with you

I trust our government

I have a little bit of a problem with this statement in as much as it is not the business of governments to be trustworthy. No trustworthy government ever achieved very much. We exist in a pereptual grey area where we know they're lying, they know we know they are lying...and we all get on with our lives in a form of blissfully ignorant co-existence. It's in this particular area that Snowden is so damaging.

Mr. Snowden really seems like a bit of a troublemaker up to no good who has caused many problems for his own country.

Well said, that man.....

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It really shouldn't be a question of trusting the government or not because we are the government. We make the laws. We decide what is done in our name. Or at least that's how it was theoretically supposed to work. This is the reason why any massive unauthorised program is problematic, be it internet surveillance or Iran-Contra.

There seem to be two separate questions when it comes to Snowden. The first is whether Snowden was justified to leak information about a massive surveillance program that went far beyond anything that congress or American citizens had ever authorised or even imagined was possible? I say yes. The second question is, now that we know about it, does society continue to authorise it? Some countries in Europe have said 'no-way' and other countries like the UK have completely doubled down and are now even trying to ban encryption.

I understand security is an issue but you are far more likely to die in a housefire than a terror attack. Nobody in their right mind thinks the government should be allowed to secretly break into your home and test your smoke detector. Security cannot trump the right to privacy (or other rights) in ever case. I think the obsession with preventing terror attacks is now more about politics than security. Political parties want to be able to say 'look, we have kept you safe, vote for us'. It's very dangerous when these ulterior motives curtail our liberties.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Edward Snowden is a hero for turning on part of the US government to do whats right and has a good understanding of values.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yep. Ed Snowden and the United Nations are right on the money with this one.

But from my experience (now going on 35 consecutive years living and teaching in Japan), there are more Japanese aware of what is happening than Ed Snowden supposes, though they seem to be helpless to do anything about the unfolding authoritarian tentacles.

Earlier tonight (Friday, June 2) on the most socially progressive television station (T.V. Asahi), a discussion panel was aired, live, talking about the worrying implications of Snowden's warning, heightened by the technological capacity of the infrastructure. Even the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun has pointed out how the double-faced prime minister barely tries to conceal self implication in corruption and conspiracies by claiming that what he says and does as an individual is separate from his role as prime minister.

While writing this and during the broadcast, I was just talking on the phone about the government's heavy-handed right-wing swing to a friend and manager at a major insurance company here in Japan ... and this will certainly be grist for the beer and chow after tomorrow night's run with the roving soup kitchen supporting the homeless, and it will be part of the banter in next week's community center conversation class.

But again, what we talk about is largely confined to grumbling, and that's about all.

————— warning: relevant but self indulgent diversion —————

Despite labor law and Japanese friends, I was pretty helpless as a Japanese college (Jissen Women's College) using similar machiavellian techniques as the LDP, the U.S. government, or most multinational corporations for that matter. For example, being conversant but illiterate in Japanese, I was refused help by anyone within the institution in reading to me my employee rights … and was not allowed to have an outside translator help me with such documents as that may compromise ‘company secrets’.

My department chairman and ‘colleagues’ hit the roof when, thanks to a Japanese friend outside the school, pointed out the ‘alternative facts’ between what my department and school advertises on its glossy homepage to lure paying customers, and the by-the-book, copy-paste curriculum we actually followed. It didn’t sit well with those entitled by nationality to have a foreigner (Associate Professor? Ha.) question either the validity or the effectiveness of ‘their curriculum’, much less have any input. I felt like a bonsai / reverse version of Ed Snowden, both shut off from the outside world and marginalized within the institution.

‘Associate Professor’ indeed. That is the same technique black companies use to enforce unpaid overtime from part-time workers. Give the kid a fancy managerial title, but only the title. No rights. No frigging wonder suicide is the single greatest cause of death among Japanese males between the ages of 20 and 44. And this neo-lib government REALLY has no idea why the marriage and reproductive rate is so unsustainably low? Ha. Poster boys for cognitive dissonance.

Marginalized and isolated, I was eventually forced to 'retire' in protest from a tenured position. The only tenured foreign position at the Jr. College is now gone ... reduced to a revolving door foreigner every 3 years on a limited term contract ... in effect, making sure no ‘foreigner’ will ever build up enough social currency or status to have any effect on the way self serving interests have always done things. In the meantime, I have spent a couple of years looking for work, unsuccessfully, in one of the world's most heavily populated metropolitan areas ... 'mysteriously' unable to find even a single part-time class in a Japanese college.

————— end of relevant but self indulgent diversion —————

The foreign community in Japan, except for a handful of entrepreneurs or multinational suits and ties, are the canaries in the coal mine of what's in store for the average Japanese citizen. A muslim friend and community volunteer just reminded me of this a few minutes ago with a recent archive from The Japan Times entitled 'Shadow of surveillance looms over Japan’s Muslims' (in case the reader would like to google this).

mtuffizi, you, Geoff Gillespie, and Tiger Tanaka seem to feel you are either the beneficiaries of a zero-sum game that empowers the few at the expense of the many, or in your own words, ‘we all get on with our lives in a form of blissfully ignorant co-existence.’ Either way, with such a priority on self-interest at the expense of the marginalized other, it doesn't take another Hannah Arendt to realize you'd all three have made good concentration camp guards.

In the excess of free time I've had these last couple of years, many of us ‘outsiders’ living in Japan have recognized a dangerous nationalistic trend, easy to triangulate with just a handful of observations, most of which are quickly hidden from the Japanese literate public's collective memory through the typical distractions of bread and circuses (tired of all the 'news' devoted to yet another new Ozeki), as well as limiting access to 'certain' older articles which may lead to a pattern recognition ... odd that when you click on some new articles of even a couple of weeks old, even in this relatively liberal on-line newspaper, you come up with this statement: The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below. Pretty much the same with articles from The Japan News, the English subsidiary of The Yomiuri Shimbun. Hmm ... am I missing news of a severe shortage of hard-disk space, or cloud-storage of news archives? Ironic, considering the hype of ‘big data’ and the sheer mass of information the government can afford to keep on its own citizens. But I digress. Back to my triangulation.

1 - A couple of years ago, both the weak government opposition parties and the majority of the public, were against both the content and the way the LDP rammed through a new States Secrets Law ... even more draconian than America's, keeping some state secrets in perpetuity and effectively criminalizing investigative journalism of potential government malfeasance. Of course the prime minister himself reassured the public and opposition parties that the government would appoint a panel to decide what should or should not be a state secret. In plain English 'the fox guarding the henhouse'.

2 - This one, I am connecting a lot of dots on, and I may be mistaken in my interpretation, so am open to counterarguments, but here goes. The Emperor, though aging, appears to thinly veil his opposition to the direction the LDP is leading the country, and in wanting to abdicate to avoid being used as a nationalist symbol, has found himself roadblocked at every turn, until a 'compromise' was reached through passing a 'one-time only' law allowing him to abdicate. Yes, even though the Prime Minister reserves the right to speak and act as an individual in contradiction to his separate rights and obligations as Prime Minister, the Emperor has no such individual rights ... unless a one-time law allows him.

3 - As a former educator, I have been particularly troubled by the direction education has been steered. While the most recent news is the prime minister and his wife's conflict of interest in supporting the 'give your life for the Emperor' right-wing mantra that was drilled into kindergarten-aged kids at Morimoto Gakuen, and the current investigation of the prime minister's under the table payback to Okayama University of Science ... other things are more troubling.

One was a couple of years ago, when an LDP appointed committee put into the Ministry of Education, suggested that all public universities either drastically downsize, or better yet, eliminate, all departments of Humanities, Liberal Arts, and Social Sciences. As public universities depend on funds from the Ministry, more than half of those schools immediately agreed to comply with the 'suggestion', and most of the remainder eventually agreed to comply. Up until then, universities went out of their way to distance themselves from research geared towards facilitating the military. My how things have changed in the last two years.

And at the more tender age of education, the ruling party has recently stated that the 19th-century Imperial edict on patriotism is appropriate for 21st century education. From the April 11 Japan Times — "Last month, Abe’s Cabinet approved an unprecedented statement declaring that the edict can be used as teaching material in schools, leaving the impression the government is endorsing the prewar document that, among other things, dictates unquestioning devotion to the Emperor." Hmmm ... of course there is NO relation to my previous point regarding how the Emperor has no individual human rights, unless legislated by the ruling party.

It is just as well that my (cough-cough) 'career' as an educator has been prematurely cut short rather than just marginalized or snowed under with paperwork. Now I have the leisure to observe and comment, though little else, the curse unfolding. We are indeed living in 'interesting' times.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

More surveillance does not equal a safer society.

However, it does allow governments to control those it wishes to more effectively.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The anti-conspiracy law proposed by the government "focuses on terrorism and everything else that's not related to terrorism -

in a nutshell, it is on everything, shame that Japanese citizen are too busy with their smartphone they are not looking what is happening in in their own country and supporting the one who will be able soon to silence any opposition at will.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hi M3, mine is an opinion, whether a valid judgement of Edward Snowden integrity or strength of character is a different matter.

I feel Mr Snowden actions when approaching the media were a grave misjudgement, undermining his future defence. Mr Snowdens manner of escape from prosecution could also be construed beyond his case of a crisis of conscience. I would also suggest that the NSA/CIA recruitment process and methodology was flawed for failing to identify Mr Snowden possible future security weakness.

One particular danger when legislation relating to conspiracy could be written in haste, or considered unnecessarily vague/broad, is on implementation the purpose and method for usage allows agencies, unrelated to policing/crime/terrorism to abuse its introduction.

An example in the UK is local councils carrying out surveillance on members of the public, and tax payers for the reasons of dog littering and the disposal waste in the incorrect bins. One borough council thought it necessary to use sections of the laws relating to counter terrorism to aid the enforcement of parking restrictions by car registration and number plate recognition.

I am not aware if the NSA has a system in place for agents and employees to reach out when crisis's of conscience occur, if not then it would be an action worth consideration.

Bottom line contracts that require high levels of commercial secrecy, especially in the matter of disclosure have to be followed without question.  Without this requirement confidence will be undermined to the point of failure to respect customer confidentiality, data protection.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@itsonlyrocknroll

I feel Mr Snowden actions when approaching the media were a grave misjudgement, undermining his future defence.

Fair enough, I can see your point of view but I think he acted in quite a reasonable and measured way with his disclosures to the media. The extraordinary claims that Snowden was making required alot of extraordinary proof to be revealed. It was responsible to have another set of eyes (the Guardian) look everything over before deciding what would be disclosed. I think history will be extremely kind to Edward Snowden and he will be remembered as one of the pioneers of freedom in the coming hyper-digital age where privacy could completely disappear unless we actively take steps to protect it.

One particular danger when legislation relating to conspiracy could be written in haste, or considered unnecessarily vague/broad, is on implementation the purpose and method for usage allows agencies, unrelated to policing/crime/terrorism to abuse its introduction.

I completely agree. The way these investigatory powers have been used in the UK has been outrageous.

Bottom line contracts that require high levels of commercial secrecy, especially in the matter of disclosure have to be followed without question. Without this requirement confidence will be undermined to the point of failure to respect customer confidentiality, data protection.

I recognise this is an opinion but I think it's worth pointing out that the law is largely neutral on this question. In the context of commercial secrets, it doesn't say 'confidentiality agreements must be followed'. At most, it says 'if you breach a confidentiality agreement you must compensate the other party'. The law takes no view on whether breaching an agreement is good or bad, justified or not. It only sets out the mechanism of compensation. This seems to reflect the view that nothing is absolute and a breach might be entirely necessary and advisable on some occasions. Agreements will also be unenforceable if they involve any sort of illegality, which seems to be highly relevant in the Snowden case. How far this can be stretched is an open question.

This traditional laissez faire attitude of commercial law is why specific criminal legislation on the disclosure of government secrets and consumer data protection has been introduced. No doubt that Snowden is guilty in the criminal context.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hi M3,If Oliver Stone Film Snowden is a genuinely accurate portrayal of events that lead up to Edward Snowden demise, then Mr Snowden talents were ruthlessly exploited. Mr Snowden on a number of occasions had it within his grasp to turn his back, walk away and move on. That was a moment of truth, that has cost him dearly.

Whistle-blowing/blowers, first and foremost, should obtain a thorough understanding of the consequences of there actions from a specialist lawyer before electing to utter a word or pass on information, classified or otherwise.    

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe anti conspiracy law is statutory legislative abuse of power from a government unconstrained by a competent opposition in the Diet. At the first opportunity it could well be contested as a possible unconstitutional instrument.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hi M3,If Oliver Stone Film Snowden is a genuinely accurate portrayal of events that lead up to Edward Snowden demise

Unfortunately, I haven't seen the Snowden film yet. I'm not sure how accurate it is or what Snowden thinks about it but I will have a look get a different perspective.

Whistle-blowing/blowers, first and foremost, should obtain a thorough understanding of the consequences of there actions from a specialist lawyer before electing to utter a word or pass on information, classified or otherwise.

I agree that this helps, but it's not always going to be a solution. I think Snowden knew what he was doing was strictly illegal (as evidenced by his decision to leave the US) but he felt it was morally justified. I think most 'whistleblowers' (I really dislike this word because it now comes with a strict legal definition) would proceed with disclosure regardless of what any lawyer would advise. 99 times out of 100, you would never get to the point of consulting a lawyer unless you felt very strongly about the perceived injustice you wanted to expose. I think these are moral questions that each individual whistleblower/leaker has to grapple with largely on their own and some are bound to get it wrong or have a moral compass that differs from the average person. This is why I think whistleblowers/leaker need to be treated with extreme leniency provided they genuinely believed they were not doing harm to society.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

lostrune2 - you said -

"...Well, it's one thing to say something about the US - he lived in the US

It's another thing to say something about Japan - he never lived in Japan..."

Luckily our handles are anonymous, because that certainly shows great ignorance on the topic at hand.

Please research - just a little - and you will discover that not only did Snowden live in Japan, but he worked in the govt world of covertness at a very high level.

Snowden is actually in THE perfect position to comment on surveillance issues in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Our only chance for any kind of real freedom is for people like Assange and Snowden to stand up and speak.

The heck with both of them. I hope both get what they deserve, a very long prison sentence with Zero possibility of parole.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In my opinion, Snowden and Manning did what they thought was morally right. Assange, on the other hand, is a Russian ally with links to Farage, Putin and Trump, masquerading as a champion of the ordinary folks. And when is he going to give himself up, as promised? Manning has already been released. Oh that's right, Assange made more conditions of his offer AFTER Obama said Manning was to be released. I hope he spends the rest of his life in that embassy, preferably with no internet or phone connection.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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