Tokyo calls al­le­ga­tions of US spy­ing ‘deeply re­gret­table’

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Tokyo on Mon­day de­scribed claims that Washington spied on Ja­panese politi­cians and ma­jor firms as “deeply re­gret­table,” in its first of­fi­cial re­sponse to rev­e­la­tions from whistle­blower group Wik­iLeaks.

“I will with­hold com­ment. But If this is true, as an ally, it’s deeply re­gret­table,” the gov­ern­ment’s top spokesman Yoshi­hide Suga told a reg­u­lar press brief­ing.

Suga added that Tokyo was check­ing with the U.S. on the Wik­ileaks re­port, is­sued Fri­day.

The latest Wik­iLeaks in­ter­cepts ex­pos­ing U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency (NSA) ac­tiv­i­ties fol­low other doc­u­ments that re­vealed spy­ing on al­lies in­clud­ing Ger­many and France, strain­ing re­la­tions.

Ja­pan is one of Washington’s key al­lies in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion and the two coun­tries regularly con­sult on de­fense, eco­nomic and trade is­sues.

“We have strongly re­quested in­tel­li­gence di­rec­tor Clap­per con­firm the facts,” Suga said, re­fer­ring to Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Di­rec­tor James Clap­per.

Claims that Washington spied on Ja­panese trade of­fi­cials, among oth­ers, came just as del­e­gates ne­go­ti­at­ing a vast free-trade agree­ment known as the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship failed to reach a fi­nal deal af­ter sev­eral days of in­tense talks in Hawaii.

The U.S. and Ja­pan are the two big­gest economies in the 12-na­tion ne­go­ti­a­tions, but they have sparred over key is­sues in­clud­ing auto sec­tor ac­cess and open­ing up Ja­pan’s pro­tected agri­cul­tural mar­kets.

Wik­iLeaks said the U.S. in­ter­cepts showed “in­ti­mate knowl­edge of in­ter­nal Ja­panese de­lib­er­a­tions” on trade is­sues, nu­clear pol­icy, and Tokyo’s diplo­matic re­la­tions with Washington.

“The re­ports demon­strate the depth of U.S. sur­veil­lance of the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment, in­di­cat­ing that in­tel­li­gence was gath­ered and pro­cessed from nu­mer­ous Ja­panese gov­ern­ment min­istries and of­fices,” it said.

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe did not ap­pear to be a di­rect tar­get of wire­tap­ping but se­nior politi­cians were, in­clud­ing Trade Min­is­ter Yoichi Miyazawa. Bank of Ja­pan gover­nor Haruhiko Kuroda was also in the sights of U.S. in­tel­li­gence, Wik­iLeaks said.

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