US VP speaks with Japanese PM after website exposed spying

Updated: 2015-08-05 14:45


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WASHINGTON - US Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over phone on Tuesday, the White House said, after the Wikileaks website revealed alleged US spying on Japanese officials and companies.

In the call, Biden reaffirmed the commitment made by US President Barack Obama in a 2014 presidential directive to "focus our intelligence collection on national security interests," said a statement issued by the White House.

Biden underscored the strong US commitment to the US-Japan alliance and thanked Abe for his enduring partnership, said the statement.

The Wikileaks website on Friday posted US National Security Agency (NSA) reports and a list of 35 Japanese targets for telephone intercepts, including the Japanese Cabinet Office, the Bank of Japan, the country's finance and trade ministries, and major Japanese trading companies.

According to the website, the eavesdropping dated back to 2007, a year after Abe's first term began, and one report from telephone intercepts of senior Japanese officials could have been shared with Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand -- the US intelligence partners.

Japan should first check whether the exposed spying was true with the United States and then try to understand its ally's true intention, instead of responding to the messages released by Wikileaks, Abe said at a special committee meeting of the upper house of Japan's Diet on Tuesday.

"If the alleged spying were true as the Wikileaks website revealed, as an ally of the US, Japan would find it extremely regrettable," Abe said, adding, "We are strongly asking the US to check the facts."