The newest revelations from whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden says that Japan, even though it is one of the United States’ closest allies, was not spared from their covert intelligence gathering. According to The New York Times, the U.S put the Asian powerhouse under surveillance primarily because of its technical capabilities.
Because of its capability to get and produce “critical strategic technology”, Japan was one of the countries in the U.S’ surveillance list back in 2007. The report also said that the U.S wanted to gain an “economic advantage” over countries that threatens their position, with Japan being the world’s third largest economy. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said it is disturbing to find out about this but he only heard about it through news reports and not from the U.S government itself. He also said that the Japanese government was unaware if this was really a common practice for the NSA. “It is never desirable to carry out acts that would undermine trust between friends including allies. I don’t want to believe what was reported,” he added.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said in a press conference that the two countries are already talking about the NSA’s communication records. However, he refused to make any specific comment about it except to say that Tokyo has asked Washington to “maintain closer contact” in order to resolve this issue. The U.S has not made any public statement to counteract or deny the allegations but in a recent interview, Secretary of State John Kerry admits that the NSA spying has “reached too far” and needs to be stopped. While some of the operatives are working beyond the jurisdiction of President Barack Obama, he also admits that some of the intelligence gathered was “pivotal” in stopping some terrorist attacks.
[ via Jiji Press ]
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