September 15, 2005

Japan seeks intelligence service like MI6

TOKYO, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Japan needs an intelligence agency modeled after Britain's Secret Intelligence Service to collect information beyond the diplomatic norm, a report suggests.

The report by an advisory council, which had been discussing the matter since April, said the entity would be under the control of the foreign minister and would specialize in collecting information on international affairs.

It suggested that professionally trained officers be posted at embassies to gather intelligence. The group cited Britain's SIS, also known as MI6, as a model for Japan's new agency, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Currently, the Foreign Ministry's Intelligence and Analysis Service is in charge of collecting and analyzing information on international affairs, as well as research operations. The division collects such information through the daily activities of Japanese Embassy officials abroad.

The SIS, romanticized as the employer of the fictional James Bond, engages in espionage operations in foreign countries under the control of the British foreign secretary. Details of its activities are unknown.

The report also criticized Japan's lack of measures to prevent leaks of confidential information.

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