Japanese intelligence history discussed in new books

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In comparison to their Asian counterparts, Western intelligence organizations are oases of transparency and openness. In such Asian countries as Japan, governments have yet to recognize the existence –let alone operations– of their espionage agencies. This attitude is slowly changing in Japan, however, through a new trend of published books authored by former intelligence operatives. An article in Japan’s second-largest newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, available here in English, discusses this new trend, as well as some of the new information provided in several new memoirs by Japanese ex-intelligence professionals. One interesting aspect of postwar Japanese intelligence, revealed in such books, is its overwhelming concentration on Japan’s communist neighbors. Another is the substantial degree to which US intelligence agencies were involved in the day-to-day running of Japanese intelligence operations. The article mentions one significant revelation, namely the creation of the Musashi, a clandestine intelligence unit focusing specifically on human intelligence collection in China and the Soviet Union. The unit had its own hierarchy and promotion structure and was operationally independent from the Japanese military and the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to Hiromasa Ao, a veteran of the unit, who recently penned an account of its activities, the Musashi was mostly funded by the US military.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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