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WikiLeaks: US Spied on Japan Since 2006


FILE - U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, with Washington Monument in the background, April 27, 2015.

The media whistleblower WikiLeaks has published documents that it says show the United States spied on Japanese officials and companies.

WikiLeaks on Friday published a list of 35 companies, government ministries, and individuals it identified as targets of surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency.

It said the surveillance dates as far back as 2006, the first term of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A WikiLeaks press release said the intercepts related to topics such as U.S.-Japan relations, trade negotiations, and climate change strategy.

It said some of the information was shared with U.S. "intelligence partners" Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand.

The United States and Japan have been allies for more than a half-century following the end of World War II.

Japanese Foreign Ministry press secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura said Japan and the United States are in communication about the issue of NSA "information collection'' but declined to provide details. He added that "Japan will continue to employ all the necessary measures to protect (its) information.''

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said it was aware of the report but wouldn't say anything further. Mitsui also declined comment, and Mitsubishi did not return a call from the Associated Press.

In June, WikiLeaks released documents saying the U.S. spied on the last three French presidents, prompting a diplomatic dispute between the nations, despite friendly ties dating back to the 1700s.

U.S. spying on its allies became an issue in 2013, when WikiLeaks released documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that showed the NSA had been eavesdropping on the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The report sparked a political scandal in Germany and prompted an official inquiry.

Some material for this report came from The Associated Press