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    US President Barack Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wave during the official welcome ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on April 28, 2015 in Washington, DC.

    I Just Called to Say I Bugged You: Obama Phones Abe Over Spying Scandal

    © AFP 2019 / PAUL J. RICHARDS
    Asia & Pacific
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    The US President called the Japanese Prime Minister to express his regret regarding the spying scandal exposed by Wikileaks, which targeted major companies and senior politicians in Japan.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens as President Barack Obama speaks during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014.
    © AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais
    US President Barack Obama has called Shinzo Abe to offer an apology for revelations that the US spied on senior government officials and major companies in Japan, a Japanese government spokesperson said on Wednesday.

    "President Obama said he was very sorry…the case caused a big debate in Japan," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

    Shinzo Abe informed Obama of his "serious concern" about the spying scandal, relayed Suga.

    "Prime Minister Abe said that, if the Japanese people concerned were subject to these activities, it would risk jeopardizing trusting relations between the allies." 

    The spokesman said that the US President and the Japanese Prime Minister spent 40 minutes on Wednesday morning discussing the spying, which was revealed last month at the same time as Japan and the US were conducting negotiations to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement between Japan, the US, and ten other countries. 

    On July 31, Wikileaks posted five National Security Agency (NSA) reports dating from between 2007 and 2009, including Japan's negotiating positions in the World Trade Organization, memos on the management of diplomatic relations with the United States and the European Union, and Japanese deliberations on climate and trade policy.

    "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," said Wikileaks, who also published a list from the NSA of 35 high-profile Japanese targets for wiretapping, which targeted companies such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui, as well as politicians including Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, Trade Minister Yoichi Miyazawa, and Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda.


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