politics

Suga asks U.S. for explanation on Wikileaks spying claims

50 Comments

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Monday said the Japanese government will ask the U.S. government for an explanation of the alleged spying after WikiLeaks published documents last Friday that it said shows the U.S. government spied on Japanese officials and companies.

Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday, Suga said Japan is a U.S. ally and that if the Wikileaks claims were true, it would be extremely regrettable, Fuji TV reported.

Suga said the government has asked James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, to verify the claims.

The documents include what appear to be five U.S. National Security Agency reports, four of which are marked top-secret, that provide intelligence on Japanese positions on international trade and climate change. They date from 2007 to 2009.

WikiLeaks also posted what it says is an NSA list of 35 Japanese targets for telephone intercepts including the Japanese Cabinet office, Bank of Japan officials, Finance and Trade Ministry numbers, the natural gas division at Mitsubishi and the petroleum division at Mitsui.

U.S. spying on its allies became an issue in 2013, when Germany's government reacted angrily to German media reports that Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone had been monitored by the NSA. Although the reports didn't explicitly cite documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, they came amid a flurry of similar claims about alleged U.S. surveillance in Germany that were linked to him.

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50 Comments
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Explanation?

You're not an ally.

You're not a partner.

You are America's mistress.

Useful every once in a while, but the US doesn't really care about you.

12 ( +22 / -10 )

Suga asks U.S. for explanation on Wikileaks spying claims

Hi. Umm... just was wondering if you could say something about the spyin....sorry? oh, no comment? oh ok. no problem. sorry to have inconvenienced you.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

It seems that America will not trust all countries, even allies/friends, maybe it must be paranoia. Other countries just spy on the USA like it has been doing for years.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Aly Rustom"oh ok. no problem. sorry to have inconvenienced you."

Sad but true. Japanese politicians lost faces dozens of years ago, so to speak. They are boneless puppets and servants of the USA. Instead of huge wave of fury what we have seen now?

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Suga's comment was for the press, for domestic consumption.

Everyone knows the US intercepts and actively bugs Japanese phones domestically and abroad to gain political and business information.

The US did it during labor negotiations between Japanese car makers and unions, passing the Japanese side strategy to the US unions.

They did it during the telecommunication negotiations for 3G phone standards, to cut out Japanese companies from the IP rewards of new standards.

They passed on technical specs and trade secrets of wind turbine companies to US companies.

The list is relentless. Chalk it up to "American exceptionalism." Try spying on the US and watch the outrage.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

@Burning Bush

I'll second that!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Orwell's Big Brother is here. And it's called United States of America.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

With all the open-base "Friendship Festivals" (hosted by US military) last weekend and tens of thousands of Japanese citizens attending the festivals. . . . I'd say this Suga cat is trying to dump more worms out of the can than he could bargain for.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Allies spy on each other. It's common knowledge. Nothing "American Exceptionalism" about it. The whole "outrage" thing is only to assuage domestic opinion. U.S. Allies spy on the U.S. as well, as they should, because they have a legit interest in knowing what Washington is actually up to, and vice versa. Sometimes they get caught (American Jonathan Pollard spying on his own country for Israel for example) and are "made examples of." But no one, at least at the government level, is under any illusion that the spying will stop. You don't think Japan spies on the U.S.? You don't think Japans policy makers have a legitimate interest in knowing what Washington and Beijing or Washington and Seoul are talking about behind the scenes? Yes, they do have an interest because Washington/Beijing relations can directly impact Japan. You don't think Washington has a legit interest in the Tokyo/Tehran relationship? Spying is reality. Countries have their own interests at heart first, and cannot just take even what their allies say at face value. Everybody spies. The U.S. is simply getting caught a lot thanks to Assange and Snowden. Frankly, "caught" isn't really the correct word. "Ratted out by one of its own" is more accurate.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Are you going to convince people in kind, good nature of US servicemen?

No. Just saying this Suga character is in way over his head.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Its Wikileaks Could be a lie. who knows.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Funny that much of the information America was looking at pertained to Japan's climate change policies.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Suga said the government has asked James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, to verify the claims.

Good idea! Ask the chap who lied to the U.S. Congress. That'll sort it all out. (lol)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Ask USA to leave Japan!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

It is easy to understand. The US president at that time was GEORGE BUSH!!! He should have been learning a little something about the middle east.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All Japanese PM and their cabinet members of post war years understood their office were bugged by foreign intelligence especially the CIA, this is common sense. In 1995 the communications of japanese auto makers with the japnese government during automobile trade talks in US were bugged as well. The countries who were never subjected to be target were CA,AU,UK,NZ. Thats why some countries choose to spying or hacking in return to compensate their losses. Japan choose to ask... it is a very good for a country whi choose to be 'America's good ally '! One of the reasons the people of USA consider the image of Japanese people were positive!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

What leaked out this time must be the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure the US has been spying on Japan extensively and thoroughly for decades.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

and people still complain about the Snowdens and Estranges of this world, The US only has themselves to blame for all this so called Allies spying. just image the uproar in Washington if it was the Japanese caught spying on the US. The hypocrisy is thicker than mud in the US gov

6 ( +6 / -0 )

CIA and NSA are too big. They even spy themselves

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is news? Storm in a teacup.

US access to Japan's "secrets" (if there are any) stretches way back to at least the early 1950s. When the red scare was on, Langley made extensive use of certain right-wing individuals in Japan. Part of the payback from those individuals was both influence and access to the highest levels of Japanese government. Moreover, there have always been US "agents of influence" both within politics and the bureaucracy in Japan. This is no secret. Although I am a bit out of touch, back in the early 1990s I reckon there were at least 15 members of the LDP giving intelligence to the US. Anyone with knowledge of Japanese politics will tell you who they were. You can double that number for bureaucrats.

The 5 Eyes have also very good access and exchanges with Japan. Although the Japanese are not a member of that exclusive club, they haven't been short of providing it with information. Indeed, when a certain country in the 5 Eyes threatened to close down their intelligence-gathering operations in Tokyo due to the lack of quality (the resident at the time was suspected of having a drinking problem), certain senior Japanese politicians coughed up cabinet memorandum as a courtesy.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Explanation? You're not an ally. You're not a partner. You are America's mistress. Useful every once in a while, but the US doesn't really care about you.

Then could you leave? Take your military and go.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Suga asks U.S. for explanation on Wikileaks spying claims

Spying or no spying. With weak opposition to the security bills and a growing presence of chinese naval activity/ drilling in the East China Sea, afraid the bases aren't going anywhere.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Is this Industrial, economic, commercial espionage? Because it reeks up to high heaven of it.

The people and Government of Japan do not deserve to be treated in such a disrespectful manner. Japan is US Government staunchest ally and loyal friend affording a forward base for the United States Pacific fleet. Covert secret squirrels crawling out the woodwork attempting to steal a commercial advantage for US interests. That lily livered liberal Ambassador Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, is long overdue a formal diplomatic ear bending.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

chinese naval activity/ drilling in the East China Sea

How convenient for you!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

"You are America's mistress."

More like slaves-you are allowed to domineer over other slaves as long as you are following our directions (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/11/us-should-use-japanese-political-change-to-advance-the-alliance). Actually, the US has first-class intelligence outwit other world-class intelligence organizations and her own people (How many Snowdens does she have?). How could it fail to spy on one of her satellite countries? I believe it's just a pathetic and desperate attempt to keep their faces to Japanese people rather than really expecting any answer. I wonder Abe actually could keep himself believe the US would trust him and his minions after shameless and transparent apple-polishings, including his English speech simply because I find myself hard to track his thoughts.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Everybody spies; it's human nature. Now, if nations, companies, people, etc. aren't spying on you, that's not good because it means there is little of value. Somewhat akin to not being invited to the Prom.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Everybody spies; it's human nature.

Yeah, and the US is probably, the best in it. Western press tend to depict Putin as a cunning spymaster (and I don't dare to disagree with the view), which means the US have been doing better than him. In fact, after the end of the Cold War, quite many satellite countries popped up around China and Russia. Japan being between these powers, how could the US have no interest in it in terms of geopolitics? In fact, some of the US politicians and researchers are openly talking of off-shore balancing as I showed just one of them.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

When they spied on the Brits, Suga did not speak out -- because he is not a Brit. When they spied on the French, Suga did not speak out -- because he is not French. When they spied on the Germans, Suga did not speak out -- because he is not German. Now they spy on Suga -- and no one will speak out for him.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The US government is concerned with commercial secrets protection rather federal secrets. Read news people, last month the revealing of a massive hacking of OPM Informations of 32 millin US govt employees by a suspected country possibly China, the obama team choose not to condemn China publicly. What US want to tell China is leave their US coporations alone from hacking. Thats why the US intelligence community has a piority given to spy on other countries informations commerical or business sector. Snowden has revealed that European community is a key targetc the NSA wasnt spy for military intelligence but the business relationships between members inside that organization. Japan just doesn't understand the nature of US spying

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Some people may be upset by that organizations which they believe belong to doing the same thing as what they think as "oppositions" do. However, it's a part of human history where many of the political decisions that may change the lives of many people have been being done behind curtains-at least, the US openly shows what they did in decades ago through NARA, which, however, is probably not whole the story...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Wallaroo"Western press tend to depict Putin as a cunning spymaster"

Guess, why Edward Snowden, a 100% American, escaped to that cunning spymaster and now he is working for Russian secret service? Because the level of hypocritical lie in the USA raised above all sane limits. Snowden, a professional spy, was not able to tolerate that incredible level of utter hypocrisy and cynicism.

@misunderstood"I think you are a Chinese mold".

Why do you think so? For many years Japanese people kept silence. But times are changing. If you dislike that Japanese can defend their opinions, please, do not be angered.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

US answer: Because we can.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@yamashi

I thought it's clear-but I meant both sides-not depending on either side you think yourself belong to.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

These sorts of revelations really show up the value of Wikileaks, and Snowden'sactions.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

US answer: Because we can.

Best comment so far

0 ( +2 / -2 )

...Well really?, we are surprise by this?... nope that the US (and the matter of fact some couple of other countries) spies on their friends and foes is well known...

What Mr. Suga did (and what Germany officials did at the time too) is a little play.."act hurt"... but we knew...

C'mon the US (and you know whom) are even right now spying on us on personal level... of course if we were of some importance... I know I am not being spied at, since I am a nobody, with no power and nothing but a couple of cents and rags to barely call my own.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NSA is bugging American people and foreign embassies all the time. What not bug officials of Japanese government and companies? US would not give right explanations to Japan if Suga asked.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A partner? USA government has no partners nor allies. They have puppets. Those who are against them are killed or they have their life destroyed. They are really good at manipulating everyone's opinion. They destroyed already Europe and nearly Africa. Be careful to not fall into their hands too deeply.

Them spying on others is not new and it's not surprising. What will surprise me is them really helping a country without asking for compensation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Everybody spies; it's human nature.

Exactly. Governments spying on each other throughout time is as natural as your girlfriend checking your cell phone behind ur back. Thought they weren't?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If Japan spied on US and shared the intelligence with other countries, I'm sure Japan wouldn't be safe from US retaliation. I'm amazed that how many American posters here are at Suga, not what US did to Japan, who only did as little as asking for explanation, as if it is a major challenge for a mistress or slave.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

as if it is a major challenge for a mistress or slave.

Heh, heh-heh . . . Now ur talking!

If Japan spied on US and shared the intelligence with other countrie

True. Japanese are very honorable people. There are some rogue elements in the US Gov. Sad but true.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Spying is a nasty business. But there are a vast variety of reasons for spying. First and foremost is to test the security and intelligence operations of the country being spied on whether they're allies or not.

If the US could spy on Japan easily, could the US trust Japan with sensitive information, political motives, and other secrets that is actually shared as allies? This goes for all countries with an alliance. Isreal+US+Japan+South Korea+EU+Canada+Australia etc.

People can cry about spying all they want, but what are they gonna do about changing it? Its been going on since the very first kingdom had a king, and emperors ran empires, and the first tribe had a chief. We're talking about B.C. early mankind...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why should Japan be any different. The US government spies on everyone. Please raise a huge stink - close at least 1 military base over it. There need to be repercussions for unlawful behavior.

Oh - and welcome to the club. US Citizens living at home have been spied on for over a decade - also illegally.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@HonestDictator"But there are a vast variety of reasons for spying"

Indeed. No doubts. And, of course, there are also a vast variety of rational reasons to betray friends.

With friends like the USA, who needs adversaries ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

kuramazaka: Allies spy on each other. It's common knowledge. Nothing "American Exceptionalism" about it.

This is where an opportunist like Assange understands that the perception is that only the US does it, especially if the US is the one in the headlines.

That was the cause of the split between Assange and his partner. The site was set up to give a platform to whistle blowers around the world, but as time passed Assange wanted to limit the focus on the US only. Reading the comments here, you can understand why. The outrage against the US will be automatic by people who don't know how things work, and Assange can capitalize on the fame. It's also a lot safer to expose something the US government is doing as opposed to other governments like Russia. Once you expose Putin you'd better check every cup of tea you drink after that.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Monday said the Japanese government will ask the U.S. government

Ask not demand. That says it all about Japan-US relations

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Super Lib, totally agree with you. I find the timing of this release more than a touch suspect. Would like to think Julian is just trying to thwart Abe, but have a feeling his target is the alliance itself. Thanks to the troves of info provided to him by well-intentioned folks like Snowden and Manning, Julian Assange himself is now a real player in the world of espionage, and that's an awful lot of power concentrated in one man. You know what they say about power "corrupting absolutely." He can outright blackmail governments, and people are putting an awful lot of faith in his inherent righteousness if they are comfortable with that. No, Yamashi, before you unleash another polemic, I'm not claiming the U.S. is innocent, I'm saying people should question whether Julian Assange is.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This situation look like a friend step on your toes and ask do you feel any pain and expect you to hold back scream and say NO. Japan needs friends but can they take pains ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@SuperLib "a lot safer to expose something the US government is doing"

I would like to believe, but...why Snowden escaped to Putin then? If it was so safe, why he did not expose certain activity of US government from American soil?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

USA does not believe Abr etc's claim to help USA to change constitution reinterpretation. So it has to spy. Meanwhile Japanese spying satellite in sky has been spying NK etc every day and night. What country have similar spy satellite?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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