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Japan Refused To Help NSA Tap Asia's Internet 375

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-thank-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The NSA sought the Japanese government's cooperation to wiretap fiber-optic cables carrying phone and data across the Asia-Pacific region but the request was rejected. The NSA wanted to intercept personal information including Internet activity and phone calls passing through Japan from Asia including China. The Japanese government refused because it was illegal and would need to involve a massive number of private sector workers. Article 35 of the Japanese Constitution protects against illegal search and seizure."
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Japan Refused To Help NSA Tap Asia's Internet

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  • WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday October 27, 2013 @12:57PM (#45251825) Homepage

    A country that gives a shit about its constitution? Surely some mistake...

    I'm glad Japan still seems to have some honour left.

    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Funny)

      by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:05PM (#45251899)

      You know who else still have honour? Klingons.

    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:08PM (#45251911)

      Remember their constitution only gives rather vague rights to people, and only if they aren't foreigners or the emperor (no, the emperor doesn't constitutionally have any rights, for the record). That doesn't mean much, it's probably more a culture thing.

    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:51PM (#45252177)

      A country that gives a shit about its constitution? Surely some mistake...

      I'm glad Japan still seems to have some honour left.

      It's not about honor, it's about not being stupid. Why would the Japanese let the NSA tap into their communications? So the NSA could then turn around allow General Electric to spy on Japanese corporations internal communications via the NSA backdoors? No fucking way.

      • A country that gives a shit about its constitution? Surely some mistake...

        I'm glad Japan still seems to have some honour left.

        It's not about honor, it's about not being stupid. Why would the Japanese let the NSA tap into their communications? So the NSA could then turn around allow General Electric to spy on Japanese corporations internal communications via the NSA backdoors? No fucking way.

        More like to keep mainland China from finding out every single thing that they turned over to the USA. They were probably well aware of the PRC having the designs of every single weapon in the US thermonuclear arsenal long before PBS (or was it BBC?) mentioned it in a spy show. It could be said that if you want to be open with your enemies, just send a secret cable to Washington to make sure they get it.

    • envy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by frovingslosh (582462) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @02:17PM (#45252343)
      I envy the Japanese for their constitutional protections.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        You shouldn't [wikipedia.org].
      • Re:envy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @02:42PM (#45252517)

        If we treated foreign immigrants like Japan does you would call us fascists. With aging population Japan desperately needs workforce and still it refuses to allow almost any immigration through pure xenophobia and racism.

        • Re:envy (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @03:23PM (#45252743)

          I am a foreign immigrant in Japan - and I am being treated very well.
          Furthermore - I completed my studies in Japan - both undergrad and graduate - and all of it was funded by Japanese government, including the airline tickets. And all of it was without any strings attached, and without the need to return the money I have been given (and you can make a nice living only on the scholarship...)...
          People are treating me, and my friends, really nice. Guess it might depend - if you are from some country that is trying to be a world policeman - you might get a different experience...

          • Re:envy (Score:4, Informative)

            by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @03:59PM (#45252983)

            I'm not talking about how your neighbors treat you on the street. I'm talking about the government policy to restrict the immigration on racial grounds. Have you tried to settle permanently in Japan and get the citizenship? It is almost impossible unless you have Japanese roots. It's no coincidence that Japan is one of the most racially pure countries on Earth (99% Japanese) as it is a deliberate policy. My point is that we treat it as racism when we are even slightly bit reluctant to grant citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants while we don't apply the same standards to other countries, Japan being one of the biggest offenders.

            • Re:envy (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Nyder (754090) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @05:15PM (#45253527) Journal

              I'm not talking about how your neighbors treat you on the street. I'm talking about the government policy to restrict the immigration on racial grounds. Have you tried to settle permanently in Japan and get the citizenship? It is almost impossible unless you have Japanese roots. It's no coincidence that Japan is one of the most racially pure countries on Earth (99% Japanese) as it is a deliberate policy. My point is that we treat it as racism when we are even slightly bit reluctant to grant citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants while we don't apply the same standards to other countries, Japan being one of the biggest offenders.

              I'm going to point out that Japan is not a melting pot country. Just because the USA lets everyone in (I don't have a problem with that) and other countries are more open about letting people in, does not mean it's wrong, or even racist if a country wants to keep it's heritage intact. Japan is in it's rights, and I find nothing wrong with it. If Japan doesn't want you to become a citizen because you aren't Japanese, so fucking what? Maybe you need to recheck why you find it so important to be a citizen of their country, most likely selfish reason that do nothing to promote Japan's interests.

              If Japan starts killing foreigners in their country then ya, maybe they might have a racist problem, but as far as I can tell, Japan doesn't have a problem letting people come visit. Seems to me if you are a racist country, then you wouldn't open your doors to tourism.

            • Re:envy (Score:5, Informative)

              by JanneM (7445) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @06:30PM (#45254075) Homepage

              Have you tried to settle permanently in Japan and get the citizenship? It is almost impossible unless you have Japanese roots.

              No, it's quite easy. I have permanent residency, and plenty of people do become Japanese citizens, without any "roots" to Japan other than what you develop by living here.

              You might want to check this blog/information site about naturalization in Japan, written by a former US citizen whow is now Japanese: http://www.turning-japanese.info/ [turning-japanese.info] Specifically this post about naturalizing without being ethnically or racially japanese: http://www.turning-japanese.info/2013/03/does-one-get-japanese-citizenship-by.html [turning-japanese.info]

            • I have been living in Japan for the past 4 years, it is perfectly possible to become a Japanese citizen without having Japanese roots http://www.turning-japanese.info/ [turning-japanese.info] Also I know lots of people who have come to Japan as an English teacher and then gone on to work in a different field, and have been here for 10 years.
            • Re:envy (Score:5, Informative)

              by havill (134403) on Monday October 28, 2013 @02:38AM (#45256411) Homepage

              Have you tried to settle permanently in Japan and get the citizenship? It is almost impossible unless you have Japanese roots

              As a matter of fact yes I have and I did it. And I have zero Japanese roots (I am a white born-in-America lived there for 20 years former U.S. citizen native English speaker).
              Six requirements (simplifying for the sake of the comment; there are exceptions to the below where it's in fact looser/easier than the below) to be Japanese:

              1. Be an adult (defined as 20 years or older)
              2. Don't be likely to become a welfare case (have a modest, stable source of income w/ an education & Japanese language level high enough that it allows you can to get/keep a job that will allow you to eat and put a roof over your head). You do not need to be rich or even well off or perfectly fluent.
              3. Don't have a criminal record, overseas or domestically, and have no immigration problems (overstaying, etc)
              4. Don't have any ties to organized crime or terrorism (domestic or overseas)
              5. Live in Japan for five years continuously (not on-and-off) and legally (no immigration blemishes)
              6. Legally get rid of your other nationalities (if the other country/countries will allow it)... either before (if country will allow it) or after within two years.

              It took about five months for me to gather the paperwork and four months for them to approve me. And it is free. Permanent Residency is not a prerequisite, nor is Japanese "roots" (you can be single with no connection).

        • Re:envy (Score:4, Informative)

          by fullback (968784) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @05:03PM (#45253439)

          Nonsense. I've lived in Japan for over 20 years and have permanent residence. I have far more personal freedom in Japan than I ever had in the U.S.

        • Re:envy (Score:5, Interesting)

          by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday October 27, 2013 @05:22PM (#45253595) Homepage

          I'll give you xenophobia, but not racism. It's more complicated that simple prejudice.

          Japanese culture is very averse to things that cause people to feel uncomfortable. It is also very unique and hard for foreigners to understand. There are also practical issues, like the writing system being extremely difficult, although it isn't too bad for Chinese people. The nursing situation in particular is largely caused by the nursing exam being in Japanese, which is understandable since nurses need to be able to read instructions.

          This does make some Japanese people reluctant to interact with foreigners, and it doesn't help that some visitors are really quite ignorant. They shout in English and expect people to understand. I remember overhearing some guy complaining that something he wanted was "like fifty dollars!" and expecting the guy who clearly didn't speak English to somehow understand and know what the dollar conversion rate was.

          If you can get past this initial fear of misunderstanding and embarrassment most Japanese people are friendly and helpful. I have noticed that often people will try to ignore me until it becomes obvious I can speak Japanese, and then they treat me like they would anyone else without any prejudice that I can see. The first time I realized I had really started to integrate was when an old women casually asked me to open a bottle for her. It's hard to explain but somehow your mannerisms and the fact that you blend in without making a fuss send out a signal to people that they can relax.

          We get the same sort of thing in the UK. People worry that foreign looking people won't be able to speak English or that they won't be able to understand their accent. We treat them pretty much the same way as the Japanese do, expecting them to learn English and integrate (we tried multiculturalism).

          • Re:envy (Score:4, Informative)

            by DarkSoul42 (1241266) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @09:34PM (#45255121)

            The first time I realized I had really started to integrate was when an old women casually asked me to open a bottle for her. It's hard to explain but somehow your mannerisms and the fact that you blend in without making a fuss send out a signal to people that they can relax.

            Confirmed. I have been living eight years in Japan, and I know for a fact I started mimicking their body language in most situations and it just "works", period. It also helps that my attire when going to work is close enough to what registers in their book as "a working employee" so no one takes notice.

            The culture is geared a lot towards "protecting the peace" (though for some people it CAN mean "keeping the status quo", for both good and bad meanings...) and keeping everyone at ease. If your behavior is geared towards that and you don't overstep your bounds (consciously or not, the "gaijin smash" effect), you'll have an easy time integrating.

            So far the only institutions to have given me any form of flak have been banks : took 2 years to get a credit card there, it can be done by paying all your bills and rent on time, and building a good record over time, passing certifications (hell, even just getting your japanese driver's license will go a LONG way) and showing them you want to integrate and that you're here for a while, and not going to run away at the first problem, saddling them with unpaid credit card bills or such.

            Digressing a bit, some workplaces are bent on rejecting change and reality even when by all accounts they should adapt or collapse, but then again I guess you see that everywhere. It's just that when observed by "foreigners" in a "Japanese traditional company" with a lot of skeletons and black history, it gets warped into a cultural/communication problem. (Incidentally, this should be your #1 indicator that someone is trying to bullshit/hide stuff from you/worse)

          • Like I've said a thousand times to people. "Race is not the same thing as culture. Do not conflate the two". When people drop the Race Card, they're often espousing a great deal of ignorance themselves. Now I don't deny that there are many racists out there, but the vast majority of people are culturists when you get right down to it. Ironically, most of then don't realize the distinction until you explain it properly.

        • Re:envy (Score:4, Informative)

          by JanneM (7445) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @06:25PM (#45254045) Homepage

          I'm a permanent resident in Japan. Getting a work visa was quite easy - much easier than what I've heard about others' experience getting one in the US - and permanent residence was pretty much painless as well. At every stage, the immigration officials were friendly and genuinely helpful.

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        Not so hot if the police arrest you they are not hot on what you and i would consider basic human rights
    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @02:34PM (#45252451)

      I'm glad Japan still seems to have some honour left.

      It never ceases to amaze me how often people ascribe general characteristics like honor, integrity, etc., to governments, on the basis of singular examples. The Japanese government, in this very specific case, did what you consider to be the right thing. But to ascribe their entire government, as a complete entity, as having honor on this basis, is premature and unwarranted.

      Look at how the Japanese government handled the Fukoshima disaster; or rather, didn't. A great many would not consider it honorable to keep citizens in a hot zone for well after it was apparent there were serious safety concerns, simply and largely out of a desire to save face. This is a glitch of Japanese culture; They are downright Russian in their inability to acknowledge a mistake when it happens. It's hardly the only time this less than endearing quality of Japanese culture has reared its ugly head either -- the internet is littered with examples of how situations were made needlessly worse because of it.

      Every government. Every. Government. will at times act in act in accordance with your individual beliefs regarding fundamental human virtues... and at other times will not. This is because governments are collections of people and organizations that are often in opposition to one another, and in a dance with so many steps and so many partners, you simply cannot judge the whole as you would an individual. Governments cannot be judged on their individual actions -- at the micro scale, it is simply too chaotic and random. We can only begin to understand whether a government adheres to a given virtue by looking at the aggregate sum of their actions and the actual (not intended or stated) result.

      Because of this, I would not say the Japanese government is either less, or more, honorable because of its refusal to allow the NSA to tap Asia's internet. As an aggregate entity, I would say that the Japanese government would like greater cooperation with the United States in the areas of defense and economics, but places a great deal of value on its cultural identity and independence from all sovereign powers, the US included. Cooperation in this particular case would have enabled a high level of industrial espionage and the Japanese culture views business as being nearly a literal equivalent to war; They take industrial espionage very, very seriously. To cooperate with the NSA in this regard would have serious reprecussions with the business leaders within Japan.

      To say that this behavior though is 'honorable' is a stretch. They are protecting their own interests. It has nothing to do with the Japanese constitution, but rather how they do business. In a very real sense, the NSA is a business competitor.

      • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday October 27, 2013 @05:31PM (#45253677) Homepage

        The Japanese government is more honourable than the US one, for one simple reason: It still cares about principal and the rule of law. The US government views the constitution as an obstruction, not an ideal.

        I don't disagree that there are many bad aspects to the Japanese government, Fukushima being a very good example. Look at how it has dealt with the threats to it from foreign powers over the decades though. At times antagonistic and prone to posturing, but ultimately true to the principal of self defence and peace. Japan could have a world class and extremely powerful military, but refrains from developing one.

        I'm aware that there are some efforts to change that aspect of the constitution. It's commendable that they actually care about that bit of paper enough to bother changing it, unlike the US government that just looks for some work-around or tries to keep the violations secret.

        The other major difference is that the Japanese government does not use the very real threat from its neighbours to terrorize its population.

    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Informative)

      by voss (52565) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @04:08PM (#45253061)

      Which is even more ironic considering US lawyers wrote their constitution.

    • Re:WTF (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wiredlogic (135348) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @07:27PM (#45254389)

      The irony is that Japan's constitution was written by Americans.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:01PM (#45251855)
    The American constitution is also supposed to prevent unlawful searches, so why does the Japanese constitution succeed and the American constitution fails to stop illegal capture of electronic communication? Do the Americans just not care?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:05PM (#45251895)

      Do the Americans just not care?

      It's more than just wiretapping. Look up civil forfeiture.

      IDK what the problem is, if it's just apathy, we have day to day life too good, or what. But we are the epitome of good people who do nothing. We are now just looking for the ultimate evil to triumph over us and just make it official.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gravis777 (123605)

        No - its that the American government does not care. The way the govenernment is set up, the American people can do nothing to prevent it. Congress is guarenteed a salery for life. Why do what people want - get in, be there long enough to get your salery for life, pass whatever laws you want - you are exempt, and accept all the bribes you want. People don't like you? Who cares, you are set for life - who cares if you win reelection.

        Oh, someone is actually going to try to make a difference and run under a th

        • by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @02:00PM (#45252233) Homepage Journal

          Oh, someone is actually going to try to make a difference and run under a third party ticket? Good luck with that happening - even if you get in (which does happen from time to time) you got 400 or so other Congressmen and 99 other Senetors and a corrupt President who wants to be the dictator of a Socialist government.

          that's actually exactly the "good people who do nothing" at work right there. how could nothing change if good people do nothing to change it. you've given up and that's the "good people who nothing".

        • No, it is that the people don't care. Look at the polls. Talk to random people. The majority either like spying or don't care. If a large majority were angry about it like slashdoters, you can bet it'd make a difference.
    • by marcroelofs (797176) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:06PM (#45251901)
      Follow the money. The US governmnet is corporation owned.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:26PM (#45252023)

        Yup, the rest of the world had a big WTF when they realize the US legalized bribes by calling it "lobbying".

        I mean wtf is with all the pretending, just cut the BS and call it what it is.

        • by Nov8tr (2007392) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:50PM (#45252169) Homepage
          I'd give you points if I had any. You are correct. We have Senator's and Congressmen who get paid insane money for being a "consultant" to some corporation. $50k and up. They NEVER go to the company. The never submit any info to the company. They just get a check every month. Of course the fact they helped vote on bills that substantially helped this company has nothing to do with it right? wink wink, nod nod, nudge nudge. The open corruption in our country is so out of control it's insane. Hell even kids know it. When corruption reaches the level even children are aware of it, wow. Sad.
          • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @03:05PM (#45252633)

            Actually the USA is not particularly corrupt. According to transparency international, only a few countries (Canada, some small northern European countries and Australia) are less corrupt than the US. Your story about Congressmen being paid to work for a company while passing legislation to help that company would be a severe breach of ethics and they would be ripped to pieces by their opponents., not to mention investigated by the ethics committee. I'm sure they get away with bad behavior, especially those with guaranteed seats (Corrine Brown, Charles Rangel etc) but that behavior is known and they still get elected so it's their constituents fault.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:12PM (#45251953)

      The U.S system is very broken and the constitution has been trampled on by fearmongers telling stories about bogeymen.

      Protection from terrorism and Freedom at all costs has been the plan past 10 years.

      When the plan goes sour and all constitutional freedoms have been eroded, keeping up the appearances at all costs becomes the new goal.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:23PM (#45252005)

      Unfortunately, our police, our elected representatives, our president, and our unelected courts all have conspired to diminish our 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Notably this was the result of the failed "war on drugs" but lately due to the "war on terrorism".

      The sad part is, both major parties are responsible for this. There are few elected Democratic or Republican lawmakers who seem to care.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:26PM (#45252027) Homepage

      Americans don't care. Really. You only have to look at the reaction to scandals in Japan compared to the US.

      A few years ago the minister in charge of tax had to resign because he made a mistake on his tax return. The leader of one of the opposition parties (there are several, and they are not completely ineffective) had to resign because he gave his support to one of the other members of the party who then turned out to have lied about something. Bullshit from politicians is not tolerated.

      Their electoral system has some advantages too. Candidates are not allowed to have TV or radio advertising, or even put videos on the internet etc. Coverage is strictly controlled to make sure everyone gets fair coverage, and money is much less of a factor since there is little to actually spend it on beyond a few small posters. Politicians have to actually go and canvas their constituents.

      Lobbying is also heavily controlled, and since money is much less of an issue lobbyists have more limited power.

      It's far from perfect but people take politics seriously and bad behaviour is severely punish. In comparison US politicians are armour plated, image managed, and awash with dirty money. The NSA scandal demonstrates just how bad it is. Why aren't the FBI arresting NSA staff for violating the constitution? Why are the senators and judges who approved it not under investigation?

      Unfortunately the UK seems to be nearly as bad. Our one saving grace is that the EU is going to investigate, assuming we don't pull out before they are finished.

    • by blahplusplus (757119) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:27PM (#45252031)

      "Do the Americans just not care?"

      Americans are the most ignorant and easily led population on the planet. You need to look at the science. See here what science has discovered about the brain:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYmi0DLzBdQ [youtube.com]

    • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @02:10PM (#45252309)

      The real irony is who wrote their constitution...

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      Do the Americans just not care?

      Nailed it.

    • Do the Americans just not care?

      Americans do care!

      An umpire made a questionable call in the World Series last night.
      Chris Brown got arrested.
      Kim Kardashian is getting married.

      . . . it's just a matter of what the common folks really care about . . .

    • The USA has just as strong of an anti-spying stance as Japan demonstrated here: we refuse requests by the security services of other countries to spy on our infrastructure too.
    • It might have something to do with the fact that most Americans have only become aware of this fact in the last few months. For the most part, we work under the assumption that the government is working within the bounds of the law.

    • by scsirob (246572)

      Read the article. The NSA asked the Japanese government and they refused. Nowhere does it say that the NSA didn't proceed and obtained access anyway, illegal and contra the Japanese constitution. Just like it did in the USA, Europe, Asia and anywhere they damn well like. They don't give a flying f*ck about laws, foreign or domestic. They simply make their own.

  • Just attempted to view the first link but need java script, not a good start.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:09PM (#45251917)

    Anybody recall how the Japanese ended up with this constitution?

    • by celle (906675)

      "Anybody recall how the Japanese ended up with this constitution?"

            Yes. They attacked us, we nuked them, then rammed our values down their throat.

  • by ugen (93902) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:11PM (#45251943)

    Japanese "realpolitik" is complicated and a lot happens "below the surface". While I'd like to hope the request was refused on the grounds of honoring their constitution, a skeptic in me suggests that the true reason must be more pragmatic. Perhaps they did not want US to gain access to their own trade or political secrets (wise choice, given what we now know about wiretapping European leaders). There is a lot of shady stuff going on between Japanese government and businesses (where does it not? I don't mean to single them out, though theirs is not a very transparent society).

    So, while it's great to know that at least one rich country can say "no" to US, I wouldn't go moving my colocated mail services to Japan quite yet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah. Let's not forget what Japan is currently doing. The LDP, or ironically named Liberal Democratic Party, is currently rewriting the japanese constitution. A few notable changes:

      1: The emperor is redefined as a "head of state". He is also excempted from "the obligation to respect and uphold this Constitution".
      2: On human rights: "The draft lists every instance of the basic rights as something that is entitled by the State — as opposed to something that human beings inherently possess".
      3: "The LDP d

      • by qbast (1265706)
        To be honest defining basic rights as something that is entitled by the State is much more realistic view. If you or some other entity (in civilised world it would be the State) does not protect your rights with force, then you have no rights at all. Go to Somalia and insist you have inherent rights when armed band comes for you. Maybe you will amuse their leader enough that he grants you right to continue living. If not, they will cut off your head with machete (after some torture probably) and it will be
      • 2: On human rights: "The draft lists every instance of the basic rights as something that is entitled by the State — as opposed to something that human beings inherently possess".

        As someone who doesn't believe in magical rights fairies or magical forces that provide people with rights even when it appears they don't have them, that actually makes more sense to me.

  • by Sez Zero (586611) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:26PM (#45252025) Journal

    ...refused because it was illegal and would need to involve a massive number of private sector workers.

    So being illegal isn't enough, it also has to be expensive and inconvenient?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:36PM (#45252083) Homepage

      I think the implication is that they couldn't keep it secret like it was in the US, as they don't have laws in place to silence anyone who might talk about it. Clearly all the US companies that were co-operating with the NSA had private sector staff who knew about it, but they were kept quiet. The pursuit of Snowden is partly to send a message to anyone who might be thinking of breaking their silence that they will be hounded to the ends of the earth for it.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Sweden [falkvinge.net] had not concerns on doing it against Russia. And UK [theguardian.com] tapped cables in a lot of places. But they (along with other european countries [slashdot.org]) are just US minions, they had to obey, no matter what national or international law say.
    • by celle (906675)

      "it also has to be expensive and inconvenient"

              And maybe they didn't want the US stealing industrial and research information like they were doing from the 70's onwards.

  • Man, I sure wish the constitutions of western nations had clauses like that...

    wait...

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:41PM (#45252105)
    There is a difference between "Japan didn't help the NSA tap the Asian internet" and "the NSA didn't tap the Asian internet"
  • Ashamed. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:43PM (#45252113)
    More and more, I am ashamed to be a citizen of this country. I feel like I've been lied to my entire life about the country I live in, what it stands for, and what it's motivations have been for various things it, as a nation, has done over the decades of my life. America as the Hero of the Day for so many countries? Standing for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? It all rings so hollow now, being revealed as a stinking pile of bullshit. Don't get me wrong: I mean our government, not the people; there are truly good people, real heroes, in this country -- but so are there in any other country in any other part of the world. As a country we are revealed as no better than some of the countries who are ostensibly our 'enemies'.

    I don't know what to do. Part of me just wants to lay down, close my eyes and sleep, never to awaken again, rather than face the horrifying reality that the United States of America that I grew up believing in is a lie, and that we're as corrupt and evil as any of the other alleged villians we've fought against in decades past. Are we really any better than Nazi Germany, North Korea, Red China, Lybia, Iran, Syria, or Al Qaeda? The answer is not obvious anymore.
    • Re:Ashamed. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolus@gmaiYEATSl.com minus poet> on Sunday October 27, 2013 @03:05PM (#45252635) Homepage Journal

      I am just, right now, reading a book called "History of a German". It is the story of how a well-educated, clever young man ( Sebastian Haffner ) lived through the rise of the Nazi regime. The feelings he describes having had in 1933, when the Nazis had just come to power - he writes in 1939 - are similar to yours.

      I am feeling something similar, though not an American citizen. I am, so to say, a child of the cold war, born in 1967. The US were the epitome of what was good and desirable, in the Western Europe of the 70s and 80s. Then and there, my political ideas and outlook upon the world where formed. Now, after the Soviet Union lost the cold war, after Afghanistan, after Iraq, after the NSA scandal, after having seen documentary films about the ridiculous "War on Drugs", I know what you know: that the US regime is not obviously or visibly better than Nazi Germany, or North Korea.

      My world view is being turned upside down, right now, in these months. Yes, I am lucky: I leave in a very peaceful place, one of the smaller European countries, with a high standard of living. I would say: it would do you good to leave the US. There is not absolute freedom here, either - but the air is fresher here. The same sun that has set over the America we once believed may soon be rising here.

  • by edibobb (113989) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:43PM (#45252121) Homepage
    It would be nice if the U.S. Constitution had a clause against unreasonable search and seizure. Maybe we could add an amendment...
  • by jc42 (318812) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @01:53PM (#45252189) Homepage Journal

    Note that the summary says "The NSA sought the Japanese government's cooperation to wiretap fiber-optic cables ... but the request was rejected." The use of "the request" here is a standard rhetorical trick to get the reader/listener to believe that there was only one request, and it was rejected. But the English is ambiguous. There could have been many such requests, of which one was rejected, and the statement would still be true. They didn't mention how other such requests were handled. The inference should probably be "... but we won't want to tell you how the other requests were handled".

    This is a special case of the general concept of "plausible deniability". Look it up.

  • So USA, the "land of the free" has an amendment to its Constitution protecting against unreasonable search and seizure. Yet it's the Japanese who have to use some actual common sense to show us how it is done and what that phrase really means. This is sad.

    What the FUCK has happened to the USA?
    • by jcr (53032)

      If you want to know where it all starts, read the history of the Puritans in New England. They were the sick little bible-thumping bastards who first brought the idea of totalitarianism to this continent.

      -jcr

  • My next computer is Japanese.

  • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Sunday October 27, 2013 @02:20PM (#45252359) Journal

    Just for the record.

    -jcr

  • against illegal search and seizure? Gee. I wonder where they got that idea from...

    Oh.

  • by Bayoudegradeable (1003768) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @08:12PM (#45254593)
    Fine, you won't help us. Well screw you! We'll just call sushi Freedom Fish and to hell with you.
  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @10:30PM (#45255421)

    I hope I will not upset some Japanese people, but seen from outside, Japan's political elite seems completely out of control from the people. It is quite refreshing to see that they have moral grounds high enough that they still behave correctly. I wish our politicians were of the same kind.

  • Article 35 (Score:5, Funny)

    by nitehawk214 (222219) on Sunday October 27, 2013 @10:38PM (#45255473)

    Article 35 of the Japanese Constitution protects against illegal search and seizure.

    Man, I wish the United States had that.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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