politics

Japan seeks answers from U.S. over embassy bugging claim

46 Comments

Japan sought answers from the United States on Tuesday over claims that its embassy in Washington had been bugged, as the list of embarrassing revelations from fugitive intelligence specialist Edward Snowden grows longer.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo was waiting to hear from the U.S. if the allegations of a bug in its Washington embassy were true.

"I refrain from commenting on details of diplomatic dialogue, but obviously we have a great interest in this matter," Suga told reporters "We are currently asking for appropriate confirmation."

The demand comes as anger continues to grow in Europe over claims that the U.S. had been spying on several European countries, including Germany, and the European Union.

They also come as Snowden, who is still holed up in a Moscow airport, broke his 10-day silence and accused Washington of pressuring foreign capitals to reject his asylum applications.

He has asked a total of 21 countries to consider his request, it was revealed Tuesday.

Britain's Guardian newspaper at the weekend reported top-secret U.S. National Security Agency documents leaked by Snowden show that U.S. intelligence services were spying on 38 embassies and diplomatic missions of its allies including the European Union and Japan.

The revelation sparked fury in European capitals, with French President Francois Hollande warning the row threatened to jeopardise talks on a free trade deal between the EU and the U.S.

The German government expressed its "astonishment" and "great displeasure" at the claims.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's insistence Monday that information-gathering was "not unusual" did little to stem the anger.

Japan's more moderate response may reflect its greater dependence on the U.S., which is treaty-bound to protect it from military attack.

Under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan is trying to re-heat a relationship that had gone slightly cold under the three-year stewardship of the now-opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

© 2013 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
Login to comment

Come on sensitive America!

(1) I understand your anger and disappointment

(2) I'm sorry

(3) It won't happen again

Where the US leads, others will follow. If the US leads its allies into a world of backstabbing and paranoid suspicion, that's the kind of hell we will end up in. If the US leads its allies into a world of mutual respect and TRUST, then we can get on with making the world a safer and happier place for people to live in FREEDOM.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Though I don;t doubt that the spying occurred I think its funny that the world is taken the word of some random guy as gospel. At this point Snowden could totally lie and everyone would believe him.

Once again all of these other nations acting like they are so righteous and don;t do things like spying on allies is totally laughable. They all do it.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Question of the day: name one country that does not, has not, and will never spy on another country. Snowden's allegations are not new news to anyone.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Matthew Simon,

If Snowden were lying and if he didn't have hard evidence to support his claims, the U.S.A. wouldn't be throwing this hissy fit, would it?

"They all do it," is no excuse. It's also rather illogical. Do you suppose that the fax machine in the US embassy in London is fitted with Russian, Chinese, French, German, Argentinian, Canadian, etc., etc., bugs?

Japan should get answers. As should other countries that have been bugged.

But more than anything else, the American public should get answers.

As to why some of its government agencies stoop to such nasty, suspicious cowardly activities.

Problems are solved with REAL communication - i.e. listening as well as talking and UNDERSTANDING. As Craig Hicks suggests, what is needed is TRUST. And where it doesn't exist, build it.

It can be done.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Its not just the 'Big Brother's on TV shows now. Welcome to the new digital age and the age of nano technology. In Buddhist thought there is no such place as where one can keep his or her secrets. The important thing is how do we upheld trust.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@hereforever

"name one country that does not, has not, and will never spy on another country"

Great logic there. So basically you are saying that if others are doing it, it's okay to do it ?

I see many people driving when drunk, should we ? I see many people driving faster than the speed limit, should everyone do the same ?

You get the point. The US government loves to act like the world police although nobody appointed them, if that's how they want to act then of course they get criticized when they get caught spying on other countries, specially the ones that have friendly relationship with them.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The US is looking like China these days

7 ( +9 / -2 )

It's Ok for the US to spy on everyone on the planet because the US is benevolent(they say so) and it's for "safety " and "national security "(by their definition) and it's unreviewable as well as mandatory and NOT to be questioned. Now, show US your papers, or else! That sums it up. Feel safe now?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The truth of matter is that Edward Snowden can continue leaking intelligence to the world if he wants. He broke the systems.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Come on, this is as old as Sun Tzu; “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What I find interesting is that last month the collective governments pretty much shrugged off the US spying on global citizens' Internet use, but now throw a collective tantrum about their embassies being spied on. What are they hiding?

Of course that pretty much sums up the biggest irony here. The US calls Snowden a traitor for gaining access to their private secrets while defending their right to spy into everyone else's private affairs. Hypocrisy much?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

top-secret U.S. National Security Agency documents leaked by Snowden show that U.S. intelligence services were spying on 38 embassies and diplomatic missions of its allies including the European Union and Japan.

If this 'spying' involves bugging embassies and diplomatic missions, the US grossly crossed the boundary separating prudent intelligence gathering from hostile subterfuge intended for a nation's enemies. As a US citizen I am utterly mortified.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Hasn't any one here read "Nineteen Eight-Four"? George Orwell in his worst nightmare couldn't imagine what the USA is doing today because nobody in the nineteen forties could predict the digital technology of the 21st century. So now the US Government is spying on everyone, everywhere. They can spy on everyone in the USA and when the story first broke, the rest of the world didn't seem to care.

Now that the Europeans and Japanese have figured out that the Americans can spy on just them, well now it's a problem! The Chinese are pikers when it comes to this kind of thing--unfortunately for freedom and the world, the Americans are leading the way to the future and it doesn't look good.

Just look at how things are going right now since Snowden revealed the NSA's secrets. How's all of that Hope and Change working out?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@ Bertie

"They all do it," is no excuse. It's also rather illogical. Do you suppose that the fax machine in the US embassy in London is fitted with Russian, Chinese, French, German, Argentinian, Canadian, etc., etc., bugs?

No but I bet Mi6 has it bugged as it is in their country. Just as sure as here in Japan the Japanese are bugging certain foreigners here.

To beleive that the word that we live in can all just hold hands and sing koombayah and get along is naive. Intelligence services for all nations are their for both positive and negative reasons based on your personal perception of any given action. Like it or not the NSA CIA etc.. etc.., their job is to act in the best interest of the USA not the world and that is what they do. Whether it is right or wrong depends on your own point of view. Did the USA do something wrong here? Guess that depends on your point of view. It also depends on what they hope to accomplish with whatever info they gained. I don't know. My comments above merely stated that these nations acting like the USA is some demon for committing actions they themselves commit is ludicrous.

As far as Snowden is concerned, he exposed information that was already known. Not as big of a deal as everyone is making it out to be. Its all about hte context you receive the information in.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Did the USA do something wrong here? Guess that depends on your point of view.

Speaks volumes.

Anything underhand the US does to gain competitive advantage or feed the securitocracy parasite is right.

Anything that Americans or the rest of the world do to challenge such behaviour is wrong.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I think its a good opportunity for japan to get that bug and dissect it to get what technology US has right now for spying. Japan is high tech resource rich nation, surely it can detect and find it!

If snowden word is no gospel, y is the US administration desperate to catch him, even the US president pleading for him to be returned ? there is truth which some big powers want to conceal

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The US will never stop bugging embassies, whoever as it has possibly been doing it for many years, even if the US apologized and said it will not happen again, as long as the US thinks bugging is a security for America.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

At a news conference held July 1 in Tanzania, U.S. President Barack Obama told gathered reporters that information gathering is done not only by the U.S. but by any country in order to know more about the world." "It's not unusual," he added.

Really? The point at issue is not information gathering but how it is done and where. The government of the United States of America is supposed to be "of the people, for the people and by the people." Could such self-proclaimed "democratic government" be engaged in bugging and eavesdrop on people's everyday activities and conversations, extending that morally dubious activity to foreign embassies, hostile and friendly alike?

That reminds us of pre-WW II Japan's special political police that kept an eye out for people's every activity and helped the national government control all information, thus driving the nation into an all-out war with the U.S., which ended up with disastrous results as anyone knows.

Hs the U.S. become a police nation?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't think anyone is actually surprised at any of this. The issue here is the arrogance of Obama and his crew to not step up and admit it and come clean. Indeed, the US IS looking like China everyday. And funny, where are all the Obama supporters who demanded Bush's head on a platter? I am certainly not a Bush supporter but come on Obama lovers, wake up. Your "Yes we can" is no different than the last prez. Well, this one just happens to love drones a little more but he's spying on everyone and seems to think he has a right to do so.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The current administration makes Nixon look like boy scout.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Those of us living overseas, such as here in Japan, know that everything we send to America via computer or say over the telephone is being "monitored" by the U.S. government. This has been made clear since 9/11. So we should be use to it. We have been living in a "1984" scenario since then ... and probably before that.

The surprises from the Snowden revelations are that every American living in America is probably being monitored in some form or other ... and now we learn that the U.S. is monitoring embassies and other foreign government bodies. But after giving this deep thought, is this actually surprising?

If you've ever read Mad magazine surely you've come across the "Spy vs. Spy" cartoons. So we are now in a really "mad" world in which everybody is spying on everybody.

Hope your walls are not paper thin ... 'cause, if so, even your neighbors know what you are doing ... and they are not necessarily spying on you ... and vice-versa.

Oh yes ... when you walk out your front door don't forget to wave at the sky ... 'cause somewhere up there is a spy satellite watching where you're going ...

Big Brother is everywhere ...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Naval_Treaty#Cryptanalytic_influences_on_the_treaty

What was unknown to the participants of the Conference was that the American "Black Chamber" (the Cypher Bureau, a US intelligence service), commanded by Herbert Yardley, was spying on the delegations' communications with their home capitals. In particular, Japanese communications were penetrated thoroughly, ...

Nothing new.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

nothing new?

There's a lot new, millions of people using mobile/cell phones, millions sending emails every single second of 24/7. Supercomputers which can store the tapped data files.Need I add anymore?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

USA awawa awawa. So much dirt sticking on your white west, USA. All the dirty secrets coming to light because of a guy who flushes his life down the drain to let everyone know the truth.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

tmarie: Sometimes you guys fail to see the forest for all those darn trees in the way. PLENTY of people who support (or supported) Obama are chiding him and the American government over this in the same way they did with the bush wiretaps. On the flip-side you have a number of consistent wingers who supported it under bush and now support the current government, although you also have people like bass4funk who supported bush adamantly but doesn't support Obama for the same thing.

As for Japan being added to the embarrassing revelations, it is only now, as a result, getting the attention it deserves in Japan. Until this was revealed you heard almost nothing about it -- now it's nearly as big as Mt. Fuji getting WH status, save that it's bad news and not good news.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

spying will always be a tool of governments, but to spy of your allies many of whom have fought and died along Americans during two world wars is just plain disgusting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is it lost on anyone here just how truly absurd it sounds to constantly revile Snowden for revealing that the U.S. spies on its friends and neighbors, then in the very same breath say, "It's no big thing! Everyone does it?"

If it's no big deal, then why the uproar over Snowden airing what supposedly is widely practiced and well known?

Furthermore, how juvenile is it to demand that no one speak aloud of this supposedly widespread, well known spying tradition? Has spying become the real-world equivalent of Lord Voldemort, or rather "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named"?

Or is it more like having an alcohoic aunt who's invited to the yearly BBQ, even though everyone knows she's going to get hammered and knock over the grill again. And everyone tolerates it until one year, one of the grandkids asks, "Hey, why's Aunt Betty always drunk? And why do we keep inviting her"

The very suggestion that despite being an admittedly common practice, spying should never be openly addressed or admitted to is juvenile and immature to say the least.

Then of course, we haven't even touched the preposterous hypocrisy of the U.S. being outed as one of the leading practitioners of the very same espionage it loudly denounces countries around the globe for engaging in.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Information gathering" is legal, and generally collects open source information. "Espionage" is illegal.

Bugging an embassy is espionage.

If you are a small, weak country, and you get caught doing it, you pay big fines, and people go to jail.

If you are a big, powerful country, you insist that you needed to do it for your own self defense, and nothing happens except a bit of complaining and at worst, an apology. I doubt that there will be an apology.

Tune in next week for information about the "the rule of law," a quaint old custom some people used to follow from time to time.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Don't think that they'll find 'bugs' in embassies, little devices attached to phones or hidden in the walls, that's pretty much old style spying - 1960s George Smiley. With all communications being sent down fibre-optic cables or up via satellites, the NSA and their friends at GCHQ can basically vacuum everything up and process it at their leisure. Some experts say that the most secure form of transmission today is a fax!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

PLENTY of people who support (or supported) Obama are chiding him and the American government over this in the same way they did with the bush wiretaps.

I'm not getting that vibe Smith. My "Yes we can" folks are NOT speaking up about this at all. The "Yes we can" folks are all of a sudden very quiet on facebook and are not posting on threads where some folks actually ARE demanding answers and speaking out. I have a feeling tmany liberals would have had a fit if this came out under Bush. Yet, because it is Obama the great... silence. Forest and trees. People are not looking at the real person Obama is. He's just as bad as the rest of them. Perhaps even worse because he's smug and arrogant about it all. Yes we can my butt...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I agree with tmarie regarding Obama. He so reminds me of Blair and other smug, "man of the people, goody goody", who lies and lies and doesn't care.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Don't think that they'll find 'bugs' in embassies

I have no idea what types, but that, among other things, is what they say they they've been using:

from the BBC

According to a 2010 secret document leaked to the Guardian, all in all 38 embassies and missions were described by the NSA as "targets".The paper says the file provides details of "an extraordinary range" of spying methods, including bugs implanted in electronic communications gear, taps into cable and the usage of specialised antennae.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

LFR, indeed, " If it's no big deal, then why the uproar over Snowden airing what supposedly is widely practiced and well known?"

Yes, if everyone KNEW it was going on, then why was Snowden even charged so absurdly, and why were France and Portugal's airspace closed to the Bolivian Presidential jet, forcing it to land on the false RUMOR of you-know-who possibly being aboard? The Big Empire Stasi are uncomfy in their jackboots about what more, how much, and when more skeletons get yanked out of the closets for all to see. Hope and Change? Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss!(Only worse, in fact).

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wanderlust,

Some experts say that the most secure form of transmission today is a fax!

Not according to the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/30/nsa-leaks-us-bugging-european-allies

One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is "implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC" - a reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission. The NSA documents note the machine is used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

tmarie,

"The "Yes we can" folks are all of a sudden very quiet on facebook and are not posting on threads where some folks actually ARE demanding answers and speaking out."

I'm one of those "Yes, we can" folks and I'm angry about all of this. I've had no problem whatsoever laying this at Obama's feet. And neither have far more so-called liberals than you seem aware of.

I'd wager with confidence that liberals are far more vocal about PRISM and this espionage garbage than the vast majority of so-called conservatives who would have the American public believe the debate over 4th Amemdment privacy rights can simply be boiled down to, "It stops terrorists. Deal with it."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LFR, you aren't getting it. The right leaners aren't upset about this because they support it. The Obama lovers were against anything like this when it was Bush. Now that it is Obama? Not many left leaning folks commenting on it. You are, I am but many, many others are not saying anything. Much like how they ignore his drone fetish.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, first, just about every senator voted for PRISM. BOTH parties. That's pathetic.

Second, I think that vote did NOT represent the will of the vast majority of Americans, liberals OR conservatives.

I know we have a few people here who are willing to throw away everything the US stands for because of their fear of terrorists, but I really don't think their view is representative of the way most people think.

Government uber interference in supposedly personal communication doesn't please most Democrats, and at least older Republicans are pretty set against ANY government interference in private matters, terrorists or no terrorists.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can't believe how naïve citizens are concerning allies spying on each other. It is expected that all countries spy on each other, friends or foes, doesn't matter. The difference is information gathering. For foes, hard intelligence that we normally associate in spying is sought after. Whereas with friends and allies, we may collect information on economic and political arenas. If you think that Japan doesn't collect intelligence on allies, you are very naïve.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The truth of matter is that Edward Snowden can continue leaking intelligence to the world if he wants. He broke the systems.

MOSCOW - Edward Snowden has withdrawn an application for asylum in Russia, apparently deciding that he couldn't abide by President Vladimir Putin's insistence that he stop leaking U.S. secrets a Kremlin spokesman said Tuesday.

Is he still leaking US intelligence including Germany, France, EU and Japan to the world?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tmarie,

If you're speaking about mainstream media, then yes, I'd say you have a valid argument. It's a bit suprising how muted the fuss is that's being kicked up over this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hide Suzuki, my point is everyone knows that countries spy on each other. It's not new news. America maybe the world police but not by choice. If America doesnt help a country they are scrutinized. If they help, there are scrutinized. It's a no win. If a negative point about Japan is mentioned, the conversation always continues with, We'll in America they .... Back to spying a bugging, what makes you think that none of your electronic equipment are clean of bugs. Is your Facebook, JT comments, cellphone being monitored? Can you 100% answer No? When I read the article, the first thing that came to mind was, tell me something I don't already know. Snowden made is own choices to do what he did and I disagree with his actions. Can't see any good coming from it and to me he is not an honorable man. And he will for ever be a loner.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can't see any good coming from it and to me he is not an honorable man. And he will for ever be a loner.

What can be more honorable than, instead of complacent acceptance of the status quo, standing up for what one belives is right, in this case, the protection of 4th Amerndment privacy rights?

Do you believe it's more honorable to follow orders, no matter how morally reprhensible those orders may be, all for the sake of propriety and strict adherence to confidentiality agreements set out for anyone doing intelligence gathering for the NSA?

People constantly deride Snowden for, "not following the proper channels" to make known his discofort with PRISM.

Yet in the same breath, these people also express a fatalistic view that even though the U.S. (and the world) are now aware of PRISM's existence, nothing will ever change and the widespread collection of America citizens' personal communications will continue unabated.

Against this backdrop, how realistic or effective would it have really been for Snowden to "follow the proper channels," if by most estimates, nothing would still have ever changed as a result.

I've no doubt Snowden weighed this very same dilemma before he took it upon himself to answer to his conscience.

Say what you will about him, but a "dishonorable" person he is anything but.

(And the "loner" bit is just silly in any event.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The big problem to this whole event against US is the suspicionand mistrust that the US had used and will continue to use the information through this program for trade and commerce that does not neccearily have anything to do with national security.

There have been many claim that the US had leaked information to the press in the past against foreign politicians to smear them with scandal.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Yes we can." "No, you can't." That's how the US works. It is ok for them to bug other embassies. But if other countries even bug their citizens, then it is outrageous! They can drone attack anywhere in the world for suspected terrorists "planning" to attack the US, but if anyone else uses force on known terrorists in their country, then it is human rights violation! Their 7th fleet can sail anywhere in the world, but if China's ship sails anywhere near other waters, then it is an act of aggression. They can demand their "traitor". But if China or anyone else demands their traitor, then the US grants asylum and arranges university talks for them on human rights. They can interfere and attack other nations for political differences, but others cannot send military forces to other countries unless in support of the US. Just imagine the uproar if anyone else bugs a US embassy!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The "everyone does it" is very childish at best. Sounds like a kid after being caught shoplifting or vandalizing. The USA is blaming the messenger and if they catch him all of it will be released. It is a good thing Japan knows the USA is bugging its embassy in Washington and god knows what else. It turns them from friend to foe. Wonders if the USA is behind the tensions in the Pacific? Maybe Japan should look at the countries around us in a new manner. Do China and Russia bug the Japanese embassies? If not then again why does our "ally" do it?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Funny how the US isn't expressing any sign of remorse or shame at the human rights violation they've committed. So arrogant as usual.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites