Press Conference by the Press Secretary
28 May 1996

    VIII Defense Agency intelligence reorganization

  • Defense Agency intelligence reorganization

    Q: Regarding the Diet's recent decision to approve the establishment of the new Intelligence Headquarters -- a rather enlarged intelligence headquarters -- would you bring us up-to-date on what its functions and areas of interest will be and how it will be staffed?

    A: I do not intend to offend you at all, but I read your article on this subject. When I read your article, I was personally rather surprised by some expressions in the article. But, before that, I would like to explain the nature of the revision to the law on the establishment of the Japan Defense Agency. The Japan Defense Agency (JDA) has been conducting research and analysis activities under the law on the establishment of the JDA. The National Diet has recently approved a revision to the Law, in order to upgrade the ability of research and analysis of the Defense Agency. The central point of the revision is that the units which separately engaged in research and analysis at the internal unit of the Defense Agency, the Joint Chief of Staff, the Ground, the Maritime and the Air Self Defense Forces separately -- have been integrated into one, under the Joint Chief of staff. It is now called the Intelligence Headquarters. The staff which used to work at the units which I mentioned have also been integrated into the Intelligence Headquarters. Therefore, the whole number of staff in Japan's defense forces has not changed. The objective of the research and analysis in intelligence has not changed. What we have done is integrate those units, so their intelligence activities can be more effective. While I refrain from making any sort of negative comments on your article, I would just like to explain the following points, in order not to leave a misunderstanding between you and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When you use the word "spies," we are rather shocked, because when we say spies, those people deal with counterintelligence and so forth. According to the present Japanese laws and regulations, we are forbidden from doing this. The other point is, in your article you say that Japan is recruiting 2,000 personnel. Probably, "recruiting" is not the correct word, because the number of personnel at the Defense Agency has not changed. Thirdly, this is probably a matter of English language expressions -- I do not know if there is a difference between "spy" satellites and "reconnaissance" satellites, but in any case, "spy" is not the right word. If you talk about reconnaissance satellites, the Government of Japan has no concrete plans to obtain these satellites so far. However, the relevant ministries, notably the Japan Defense Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are closely following this question with keen interest. In any case, what I would like to stress here is that the Government of Japan does not intend to establish some new intelligence headquarters which used to exist in the past, before the second world war. What we have been doing is just upgrading the research and analysis activities of the Defense Agency.

    Q: What then is the purpose of upgrading Japan's intelligence organization? Secondly, what will the source be of the information this organization will research? The Diet record speaks of electronic listening bases -- what are they exactly, and what are they listening to?

    A: On your first question, as I said, the internal unit of the Japan Defense Agency, the Joint Chief of Staff and the three Self Defense Forces, separately had their own unit for research and analysis. Up until now, unfortunately, every now and then, there was a lack of cooperation among the units, and this was not effective enough. Therefore, this time, the Japan Defense Agency decided to integrate those units into one unit under the Joint Chief of Staff. We hope that this time, the Intelligence Headquarters can really engage in effective research and analytical work. Secondly, Japan's Defense Agency Intelligence Headquarters is composed of several divisions. It is composed of the Directorate for Administration, the Directorate for Planning, the Directorate for Assessment, the Directorate for Imagery, and the Directorate for Sigint. There are SIG sites, and probably, you are interested in the Directorate for Sigint, and/or SIG sites, and the use of electronic devices. They are monitoring the electronic airwaves in Japanese territorial airspace. They are doing their best to collect necessary information for Japan's security.

    Q: Is the monitoring confined to within Japan's territorial air zone, and if it is, how was it that this same agency had the good luck to overhear a conversation between the Soviet Air Force at the time it was shooting down a Korean aircraft?

    A: I am not sure whether or not their activities are confined to Japanese airspace. But, in any case, they are collecting information -- I am talking about the SIG sites -- all sorts of information coming to or passing through Japanese airspace. But, this does not mean that this information originated in Japanese air space. They are just catching information inside Japanese territory -- information that may enter into Japanese territory from various parts of the globe.