Tim Speaks the Truth / Re: Joichi Ito as a Junior Policeman

Tim May tcmay at got.net
Sun Aug 3 13:11:01 PDT 1997

To follow-up on my comments about Chobetsu, the Japanese SIGINT/COMINT
agency, there's a wealth of information in various places. In addition to
the books by Richelson and Hersh that I mentioned, Web searches reveal a
bunch of stuff. (And my own Cyphernomicon, now 3 years old, has material on
it, too.)

At 10:31 AM -0700 8/3/97, Tim May wrote:

>At 5:12 AM -0700 8/3/97, Joichi Ito wrote:
>>so they probably are pretty militaristic), Japan does not have the
>>equivalent of the NSA. It really is in Japanese national security interests
>And what of Chobetsu?
>Cf. Richelson's books on the world's intelligence agencies for discussion
>of Japan's version of the NSA.
>I also had a discussion with an NHK crew about Chobetsu and the coopeative
>spying arrangements at the USAF base at Misawa. The NHK folks seemed to get
>nervious at what I was openly discussing with them, and averred that such
>things are rarely spoken of in Japan, at least not as openly as I was
>speaking of them. (I showed them the sections Richelson had on Misawa, and
>Seymour Hersh's revelations about the 6920th and the Naval Security Group,
>Task Force 59, and complicity in the offing of Gough Whitlam of Australia.)

In Japan it is apparently the despised "anarchist" organizations which are
active in exposing the extent of COMINT surveillance of Japanese
corporations and citizens, so the nervousness of the NHK crew is
understandable. Being linked in any way to the Aum cult is a serious matter
in an "anti-terrorism" and "anti-anarchist" regime.

Here's an interesting article from: http://www.twics.com/~anzu/14-JCIA.html

My comments or emphasis are in <angle brackets like this>.

--begin quoted material--

>From Tokyo Observer x

It is not yet clear why information was leaked to the New York Times,
once in October 1994, and a second time one year later, revealing facts
concerning CIA involvement in Japanese politics and in trade talks
between the two countries. What is clear, however, is that one of the
major end results of the CIA leaks, whether intentional or not, may be
a strengthening of the Japanese intelligence apparatus. For example, in
response to the second report, an anonymous Japanese foreign
ministry official told the Daily Yomiuri that it was not surprising that
the U.S. had spied on Japan because there was no anti-spying
legislation in Japan. Such moves to strengthen the intelligence
apparatus are not new, of course, but they have become much more
forceful in recent years. In October, 1994, soon after the first CIA
leak, two articles appeared nearly simultaneously in the Japan Times
and Time magazine concerning the possible formation of a new
intelligence "superagency." Ueno Teruaki, in the Japan Times, quoted

<Joichi should ask if the national policy council he is to sit on, like any
good journalist would surely volunteer to sit on--NOT, is involved in this
reported creation of an intelligence "superagency.">

"Japanese spies" as saying that "it is in the nation's interest to get
independent assessments of situations instead of accepting the
offerings of allies." And in the Time article, Nishihara Masashi, a
research director at the National Institute of Defense Studies was
quoted as saying, "we need more independent intelligence if we are
going to play an expanded role in international affairs." In the wake of
the second leak in October 1995, these calls have only grown more
strident, and this leaves open the possibility that elements within the
U.S. administration may have hoped to use the revelations as a lever
to push Japan into bearing a greater share of its "defense burden."
Conservative public opinion magazines such as Bungei Shunju and
SAPIO have published papers, typically light in information content
but heavy in rhetoric, decrying Japan's lack of ability to defend itself
in the coming "intelligence wars." Conservative critics have renewed
calls for the passage of some sort of "anti-espionage" legislation, an
issue that was a favorite of Nakasone Yasuhiro during his
administration in the early 1980s (though Nakasone was unable to get
the law passed). The typical claim of these commentators is that
Japan's intelligence capabilities are in a crippled state, and that (though
this is generally unstated) when relations with the U.S. deteriorate,
Japan will be left vulnerable. These calls have, in fact, led to concrete
plans to unify them into a single super agency modeled on the CIA in
the United States. Japan's "Crippled" Intelligence It would be a
mistake, however, to take at face value the claims that Japan's
intelligence-gathering capabilities are "crippled." There are, in fact, a
whole series of offices that deal with such matters, though it is true
that they are (like most Japanese bureaucratic functions) divided
between agencies with conflicting interests, who may at times be more
interested in guarding their own territories than in doing any real
work. At present, Japan's main central official intelligence-gathering
agency is the so-called Naicho, a small section of the Prime Minister's
Office staffed by some 80 personnel who analyze information from
abroad. Proponents of a strengthened apparatus claim that this group
is basically ineffectual, and spends most of its energy having outside
researchers and professors translate newspaper articles and official
documents from abroad. It is supposed to act as a coordinating agency
for other groups in the government, but, the critics say, it does not. In
a recent issue of Jiyu Ishi, an anarchist publication, however, one

<Jiyu Ishi could be a candidate for mirroring, if it is suppressed in the
wake of the hysteria about the Aum Shinrikyo religious group and the spread
of anarchist material through Japan.>

author claimed that this office is currently being strengthened to
conduct surveillance on citizen activists. The two largest government
sections that are involved in intelligence are the Public Security
Investigation Agency (Koancho) - which is mainly involved in
counter-espionage - and the different intelligence sections of the
Defense Agency and Self-Defense Forces, in particular the group
called Chobetsu, with some 1,100 personnel, under the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, which analyzes radio and other transmissions in and around
Japan. There are also sections within the Foreign Ministry, MITI

<I'd say that this pretty much matches what I said about Chobetsu being the
Japanese equivalent of the NSA. Maybe not as large a staff as the NSA, even
in proportion to population, but certainly so in proportion to the relative
sizes of the armed forces. And Chobetsu makes use of facilities built in
Japan by the various arms of the NSA, including the affiliated Naval
Security Group, Army Security Agency, and Air Force Intelligence

(through its external trade organization, JETRO), the National Police
Agency and the Metropolitan Police Department that deal with
intelligence work, though on a smaller scale. Attention has recently
focused on the Koancho and Chobetsu, the two largest agencies, as
they are currently jockeying for position in the new "superagency" that
many are calling for. The Koancho, for its part, was set up in 1952 as
an agency to investigate and control internal subversion, and its

<Controlling internal subversion?>

activities focus mainly on the far left and right, as well as the Japan
Communist Party, which was its main target during its early years. In
addition, it is probably the single group in Japan that is most
responsible for surveillance of resident Koreans, as statements made
by sources within the Koancho almost invariably point to how "North
Korea is scheming against Japan." At present, it is focusing its
surveillance on Aum Shinrikyo, partly in a move to gain increased
legitimacy. It is staffed by some 1,800 investigators. The New
"Superagency" The Chobetsu, for its part, is part of the Self-Defense
Forces, so its main focus is on military intelligence. Its main targets

<There's that mention of Chobetsu again. Sure sounds like the Japanese
equivalent of the NSA.>

are, naturally, the Korean peninsula, China, and Russia. There are
plans, however, which have not been well carried in the mainstream
press (though they are not in reality secret) to unite the different
groups within the defense community into a new "superagency"
which would rival the CIA. In next year's budget plan, funds have
actually been appropriated for the construction of a new headquarters
to house the Defense Agency and SDF in Ichigaya, Tokyo (the site,
incidentally, where Mishima Yukio committed suicide in 1971). This
new installation will be used to house the new superagency, or
"information headquarters," and the staffing level is eventually
expected to reach 5,000 or even 6,000 personnel, half of whom will
be field agents. Oddly enough, the focus of this new agency, if one

<6000 employees....now that's starting to look more like a large,
NSA-scaled operation! And Joicho Ito can be a part of this grand and
glorious venture! What would-be journalist wouldn't jump at the opportunity
to become one with Big Brother?>

takes the military planners at their word, would seem to be almost
exclusively domestic. What this means is that a further 3,000
personnel will be added to the 1,800-odd existing investigators in the
Koancho whose main task is to look out for spies inside Japan. There
is hardly any focus, however, on events outside. This is partly due,
no doubt, to the existence of Article 9 of the Constitution, which (at
least according to the most accepted "interpretation" forbids Japanese
military forces from operating outside of the country. It is known, for
instance, that Japan's military planners would like to launch a military
surveillance satellite, but they have not (yet) been able to carry out the
plan. If we look at espionage, we find that JETRO has also attracted
some attention in recent years, but only because of the larger focus
given to economic intelligence, and the fact that JETRO's activities are
mostly focused on Japan's nominal allies in the U.S. and Western
Europe. Given a system where most of the heavy-duty agencies such

<This "JETRO's activities are mostly focused on Japan's allies in the U.S.
and Western Europe" point is of course well-known. My old employer became
concerned that chip plans and factory schedulings were being intercepted by
Japanese SIGINT facilities and relayed to MITI and to its competitors. My
employer took steps to secure its communications. And of course the NSA was
doing similar espionage on Toshiba, Hitachi, etc. Nice to know that under
the New Crypto World Order, corporations will have to register their keys
with the local governments....somehow I think the U.S. will balk at forcing
Intel and Motorola to deposit their keys with the Rising Sun Imperial Key
Recovery Office.>

as the Koancho are almost solely focused on counter-espionage,
JETRO is obviously involved in a project of a different nature.
"Outside Agencies" In numbers, the Japanese intelligence community
may seem, indeed, to be a hobbled version of its counterparts in the
U.S., Russia, France, or Israel, especially in terms of espionage,
though the inauguration of the new "information headquarters" may
change this image. When looking at Japanese intelligence-gathering
capabilities, however, due consideration must be given to the fact that
these functions have historically been "subcontracted" out to the
private sector. During the early 20th century and in the prewar and

<"Subcontracted out to the private sector." Now there's the real
explanation for why Japanese intelligence agencies are not yet staffed at
NSA-type levels. The MITI-influenced corporations are working closely with
the SIGINT facilities. Could be why that design tape for the x86 series
vanished upon arrival in Tokyo...whoops, now Chobetsu will have to shoot

wartime periods, it is well documented that Japanese trading
companies were valuable sources of information to government
agencies. Nor can it be said that such relationships no longer exist. In
a recent issue of Bungei Shunju, a retired Koancho official wrote of
the existence of an "external organization" called Kyudankai, which
had the function of analyzing information (hence espionage) on
military movements in the Soviet Union. In fact, he claimed that this
group had knowledge of the impending 1980 invasion of Afghanistan,
and communicated these suspicions to the Japanese government.
Interestingly, the article was obviously an attempt to boost the prestige
of his organization, but it ends up giving credibility to suspicions that
Japan's intelligence services are not as crippled as they might first
appear to be. We are thus left with the suspicion, albeit
undocumented, that other similar organizations continue to exist today
and to provide privileged information to the Japanese government.

<Seems likely. Instead of working to expose government spying, as Hersh,
Richelson, Bamford, and others have done in the U.S., it seems that
Japanese would-be journalists like Joichi Ito would prefer to work with the
intelligence agencies as they seek to create a Japanese superagency to
monitor dissidents, anarchists, and religious group members. "The nail that
stands up gets pounded down.">

Moreover, it is easy to conclude the inauguration of the new
"information headquarters" in the Defense Agency may augur a period
of increased intelligence activities. A build-up of personnel is
obviously taking place, and in a crisis it seems clear that the tasks of
these people could quickly be reoriented to play a more
outward-looking role. The numbers themselves bear watching.

<And I rather suspect that Ito and other journalists will be loathe to
report on what they learn in their secret planning sessions.>

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay at got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."

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