US, Japan discuss spying issue

Washington, Aug 5 (IANS) US Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the phone after the Wikileaks website revealed alleged US spying on Japanese officials and companies.

In the call, Biden on Tuesday reaffirmed the commitment made by the US President Barack Obama in a 2014 presidential directive to “focus our intelligence collection on national security interests,” Xinhua reported quoting a statement issued by the White House.

The Wikileaks website posted US National Security Agency (NSA) reports and a list of 35 Japanese targets for telephone intercepts, including the Japanese cabinet office, the Bank of Japan, the country’s finance and trade ministries, and major Japanese trading companies.

According to the website, the eavesdropping dated back to 2007, and one report from telephone intercepts of senior Japanese officials could have been shared with Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand — the US intelligence partners.

Japan should first check whether the exposed spying was true with the US and then understand its ally’s true intention, instead of responding to the messages released by Wikileaks, Abe said at a special committee meeting of the upper house of Japan’s diet on Tuesday.

“If the alleged spying were true as the Wikileaks website revealed, as an ally of the US, Japan would find it extremely regrettable,” Abe said, adding “We are strongly asking the US to check the facts.”

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