Opinion / Opinion Line

US surveillance of Japan blow to Abe government

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-03 08:06

The United States has been intercepting phone calls between Japanese officials on sensitive issues including trade, climate change and bilateral relations, the whistle-blowing Wikileaks website revealed on Friday. The documents, marked "top secret", reportedly show that the National Security Agency shared the information it had gathered with Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand: the so-called Five Eyes intelligence partners. Comments:

In these documents we see the Japanese government worrying in private about how much or how little to tell the United States in order to prevent undermining the diplomatic relationship. The lesson for Japan is this: Do not expect a global surveillance superpower to act with honor or respect.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, July 31

We are closely communicating with the US on the NSA's information gathering, but we are refraining from any comment on this matter because of the character of the issue.

Kenko Sone, spokesman for Japan's prime minister, July 31

The sense that Japan is being sidelined in favor of other allies will hurt, and will not be something that (Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) will be able to deflect easily.

John Swenson-Wright of the Chatham House think tank in London, July 31

The spying provides serious insight into the goings-on of the (Japanese) government. Japan is going to be horrified to see (news of the leaks) entering the public domain. Nevertheless, the Japanese government sees the TPP in a much bigger, multilateral sense.

James Simpson, a Tokyo-based defense analyst and contributor to Jane's Defence Weekly, July 31

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