|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Bugging phones is nothing new in diplomatic circles
Shukan Hoseki 11/9-16
'The New York Times' scoop last month that the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency bugged telephone conversations Minister of International Trade and Industry Ryutaro Hashimoto had with the heads of Japan's leading automakers came as a big shock to many naive Japanese who have always assumed the United States a fair partner.
But wait a minute,reminds Shukan Hoseki,wiretapping is extremely common practice in diplomatic circles,and if Japanese government officials did no counterbugging of their own,it's their fault,notes the magazine in a four-page article designed to enlighten the reader about how to prevent leaks.
Quoting many security experts,Shukan Hoseki cautions against the lack of awareness among the Japanese.
"You might think that wiretapping or information theft is a disgraceful act,"asserts Toshiyuki Shikata of Teikyo University.
"But in Europe people think that the fault lies with those who neglect to protect their communication links.
There is no sense of guilt involved in wiretapping."
Shikata,a former Self-Defense Forces inspector general,goes on to suggest that practically all Japanese embassies are planted with wiretapping devices.
Another informed expert,a Japanese professor at a U.S. university,quotes an anonymous insider and suggests that the CIA has planted 60 top agents deep in the heart of the Japanese government and industries.
An American journalist working in Japan,name withheld,endorses this theory.
The journalist tells Shukan Hoseki that the CIA's nonofficial covers,or agents disguising themselves as civilians,are engaged in secret missions at local subsidiaries or branch offices of major U.S. computer manufacturers, food makers,banks and securities companies.
The source reminds the magazine that the level of current U.S. intelligence activities in Japan compares with that in the Soviet Union before its demise.
"There is no country like Japan where information is everywhere but nothing is done to protect leaks,"notes diplomatic critic Takarao Arai.
He argues that The New York Times' disclosure confirmed that the CIA is keeping under surveillance all key political figures and industry leaders in Japan.
A source with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry admits that someone is wiretapping his ministry and reveals that he and others try not to mention specific figures when they discuss confidential matters over the telephone.
But in the midst of diplomatic negotiations,they all lock themselves up in a hotel room to plot strategies,and under these circumstances it is extremely hard to go back to the ministry just to use secure lines.
"They should know better.Only Japanese bureaucrats use phones at hotels," deplores the aforementioned university professor.
He informs the magazine that the whole world laughed at the total lack of common sense when Hashimoto and Foreign Minister Yohei Kono held a strategic discussion in a room right next to the U.S. Trade Representative's office during their visit to Washington for Japan-U.S. auto talks in September 1994.
"That's virtually the same as saying we don't mind being listened to,"laments the professor.(TI)