Japan mulls its own CIA-like agency

Japan mulls its own CIA-like agency
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

TOKYO - A recent spate of deadly incidents involving Japanese nationals abroad has reignited debate over whether Japan should create its own version of the CIA.

Japan was rocked by the murder of two Japanese hostages held by the Islamic State group which was soon followed by a terrorist attack on a Tunisian museum, which claimed the lives of many tourists, including three Japanese.

Japan experiences increased calls for establishing a specialist organisation involved with gathering overseas intelligence, each time crises involving Japanese citizens occur. Similar calls also arose in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York on Sept. 11 in 2001.

But if Japan sets up its own CIA-like organisation, it will have to overcome many challenges, including a lack of public understanding of the issue as well as securing financial and personnel resources.

Prime ministerial pledge

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on March 20 told the budget committee of the House of Councilors, the upper house of Japan's parliament, that the government will consider the establishment of a foreign intelligence service. "Gathering inside information on countries and organisations concerned is especially vital to confronting international terrorism," he said.

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