Although one of its closest allies, Japan is not immune to being spied on by the United States. The Abe government’s posturing following Wikileaks recent release of documents stipulating the US is spying on Japan as “deeply regrettable” rings pretty hollow (emphasis added):
“We have strongly requested intelligence director Clapper confirm the facts,” Suga said, referring to James Clapper, National Intelligence director.
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 US 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 US intercepts showed “intimate knowledge of internal Japanese deliberations” on trade issues, nuclear policy, and Japan’s diplomatic relations with the US.
“The reports demonstrate the depth of US surveillance of the Japanese government, indicating that intelligence was gathered and processed from numerous Japanese government ministries and offices,” it said.
Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, did not appear to be a direct target of phone tapping but senior politicians were.
Yoichi Miyazawa, Japan’s trade minister; Haruhiko Kuroda, Bank of Japan governor; and officials of Mitsubishi company were in the sights of US intelligence, WikiLeaks said.
This is the type of spying I would expect every world government to conduct. The usefulness of this type of data gives negotiating advantages for the countries with good intelligence, so this really should come as no surprise. If a large economic power like Japan has not engaged in this behavior then I will be very surprised.