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The NSA spy scandal, based on a trove of secret documents brought to light by ex-intelligence contractor, whistleblower and American hero Edward Snowden, simply will not go away. In the latest ramification from the leaks, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked President Obama to fully investigate alleged spying by the U.S. National Security Agency on Japan in a phone call on Wednesday, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Several secret NSA documents posted online by WikiLeaks a few weeks ago provided strong proof that multiple conversations involving Japanese government officials, high-level central bank employees and major Japanese firms had been secretly recorded by the NSA.
Suga noted that President Obama had made an apology in the Wednesday morning phone call, saying he was sorry that the issue has become a problem for Abe and the Japanese government.
In describing the phone call between the two leaders, Suga said that Abe replied that ties between Japan and the U.S. would be damaged if the leaked documents prove to be true. Suga also said that Abe requested that the United States investigate the case and expeditiously provide the results to Japan.
Of note, and perhaps tellingly, Suga did not male it clear whether the U.S. confirmed or denied the spying on Japan. According to a news release from Mr. Abe’s office, the president said that at present, the U.S. isn’t engaged in activities that would damage trust between the allies.
Apparently the two leaders had a more than 40-minute conversation, as they also discussed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to the U.S., in addition as well as the increased tensions in the Korean peninsula.
According to Suga, President Obama also welcomed Abe’s statement commemorating the 70th year since the end of World War II.
In a White House statement released Wednesday, Obama noted that he had “reassured the prime minister that our intelligence collection is focused on national security interests and is as narrowly tailored as possible.”