Japan rejected NSA request for aid in tapping fiber-optic cables in 2011

Kyodo News International reports: The U.S. National Security Agency sounded out the Japanese government around 2011 for cooperation in wiretapping fiber-optic cables carrying phone and Internet data across the Asia-Pacific region, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

The agency’s overture was apparently aimed at gathering information on Beijing given that Japan is at the heart of optical cables that connect various parts of the region. But Japan rejected the request, citing legal restrictions and shortage of personnel in the tapping operations, the sources said.

The sources said the agency asked Japan if it could intercept personal information such as Internet and phone call data when communication data pass through Japan via cables connecting Japan, China and other parts of the region.

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