Japan creating spy agency for first time after Second World War

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Japan is creating an espionage agency for the first time since the end of the Second World War, amid growing tensions with its superpower neighbour China and nuclear-armed North Korea.

The new unit, modelled on MI6 and the CIA, will also be tasked with gathering information to prevent terrorist attacks against Japanese targets, according to a US government cable obtained by WikiLeaks.

The cable, which records an October 2008 discussion between Hideshi Mitani, Japan’s Cabinet Office intelligence chief and Randall Fort, the former head of the US State Department’s Bureau of Research and Intelligence, reveals that Tokyo believes having a “human intelligence collection capability” has become a priority.

Mr Mitani told his US counterpart that Japan had negligible knowledge of what was going on in North Korea. Its best insights, he said, came from the North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il’s former sushi chef, a Japanese national who escaped and later wrote a memoir.

The leaked cable shows that the decision to set up a spy service was made in 2008 by the then-Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s Liberal Democratic Party government....

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