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US Won’t Tell Japan if CIA Spied on Japanese Trade Negotiators

October 28, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States won’t tell the Japanese whether the CIA spied on their negotiators during last summer’s tense auto trade fight.

Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Takakazu Kuriyama, had been told during a meeting Thursday with Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord that it was U.S. policy not to comment on intelligence matters.

That, however, did not satisfy the Japanese.

``(The answer) was exactly what we expected,″ chief Japanese government spokesman Koken Nosaka said Friday in Tokyo. ``And we cannot be satisfied with an explanation like this.

``The reply, in which the United States never denied the allegation but simply refused to comment, only worsens our relations. We demand they clarify it,″ Nosaka added.

Kuriyama told Lord that ``the Japanese government cannot condone any perpetuation of illegal acts by foreign agencies in Japan,″ according to Japanese Embassy spokesman Takeshi Ito.

Ito said the United States also was told that ``Japan expects the U.S. government to make efforts to remove the distrust of the Japanese people to the United States which arose from the incident.″

Dinger said Lord assured the Japanese ambassador that ``the United States and Japan have an extremely close and friendly relationship and the United States had no desire to harm Japan or our close ties.″

President Clinton is scheduled to make a state visit to Japan next month.

The New York Times reported Oct. 15 that U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor was supplied regularly with information abut the Japanese negotiating position by the CIA’s Tokyo station and the National Security Agency, which operates electronic eavesdropping equipment.

The paper said the information included descriptions of conversations between Japanese bureaucrats and auto executives. In late June, the two countries reached an agreement aimed at boosting sales of American-made autos and auto parts.

The Japanese claimed victory in the dispute because the United States removed the threat of punitive tariffs against Japanese luxury autos even though the final agreement did not contain any numerical targets to measure progress.

It marked the second time this year that the CIA, which has been searching for new missions with the end of the Cold War, has been accused of spying in trade matters. In February, the French government expelled CIA agents it had accused of economic espionage.

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