Japanese National Has Been Caught Committing Espionage in Russia

  • Japanese national was given notice to leave within 72 hours under diplomatic scenario
  • Japanese intelligence training is based on Sun Tzu principles and German influence
  • Currently, there is Japanese national accused of spying for Russia in Japan

Russia announced a Japanese national was caught in the act of espionage trying to obtain classified information regarding the Russian military. The announcement came via the Russian Foreign Ministry. The incident took place on December 25, 2019 in the Russian Eastern town of Vladivostok, a major Pacific port city in Russia overlooking Golden Horn Bay, near the borders with China and North Korea. It’s known as a terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which links the city to Moscow in a 7-day journey. In the city center is Central Square, where a towering memorial pays tribute to local soldiers who fought Japanese forces in the early 20th century.

Vladivostok has a large Russian Naval Base. The Pacific Fleet is the Russian Navy fleet in the Pacific Ocean. Established in 1731 as part of the Imperial Russian Navy, the fleet was known as the Okhotsk Military Flotilla and Siberian Military Flotilla, formed to defend Russian interests in the Russian Far East region along the Pacific coast.

Vladivostok Naval Base (Image Source: Midgardraven).

The current description of the base:

  • Admiral Vinogradov is a large anti-submarine ship of project 1155. Flight number 572, in the fleet since 1988. Commander captain 1st rank Pyotr Podkopailo.
  • Admiral Panteleev is a large anti-submarine ship of project 1155. Flight number 548, in the fleet since 1991. Commander captain 2nd rank Ivan Kovalev.
  • Admiral Tributz is a large anti-submarine ship of project 1155. Flight number 564, in the fleet since 1986. Commander captain 2nd rank Sergey Sobokar.
  • Marshal Shaposhnikov is a large anti-submarine ship of project 1155. Flight number 543, in the fleet since 1985. Commander captain 1st rank Anatoly Vislov.

Ulysses Bay

  • 165th surface ship brigade
  • The 19th brigade of submarines (Small Ulysses)

In the ranks:

  • B-190 Krasnokamensk is a diesel submarine of project 877. In the fleet since 1992. Commander captain 3 rank Yevgeny Demidov.
  • B-260 “Chita” – diesel submarine project 877. In the fleet since 1981. Commander captain 2 rank Oleg Chirva.
  • B-345 is a diesel submarine of project 877. In the fleet since 1994. The commander Capt 2 rank Yury Konkin.

If in fact there was espionage committed by a Japanese diplomat, it would be pertaining to an attempt to gather classified information from that base, as that would be the largest strategic resource in the region.

There was a notice that “the Russian side stated that the detained red-handed Japanese subject official warning about the inadmissibility of actions creating conditions for committing a crime under article 276 of the criminal code of the Russian Federation, he was given 72 hours to leave the territory of the Russian Federation.” Since Diplomats have immunity, the accused was not detained. However, Japanese diplomats have started protesting in connection to this scenario. The individual left Russia the following day.

Article 276 Criminal code of the Russian Federation is pertaining espionage: 

Transfer, and also collection, theft, or keeping for the purpose of transfer to a foreign state, a foreign organization, or their representatives of information constituting a state secret, and also transfer or collection of other information under the order of a foreign intelligence service, to the detriment of the external security of the Russian Federation, if these deeds have been committed by a foreign national or a stateless person, shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of 10 to 20 years.

The Japanese intelligence agency is the Directorate for Signals Intelligence (DFS), has over 1500 employees and over six surveillance facilities with 24 hour monitoring of all communications and data.  According to an intercept published in a 2008 NSA report in 2008 about Japanese intelligence claimed, “Japan is stuck in the Cold War scenario.” It is clear Japan and Russia have had tumultuous diplomatic and geopolitical dealings.

The Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office is the country’s leading intelligence Agency. Its function is to collect information necessary for members of the Cabinet of Ministers to make, first of all, political decisions.

The Bureau consists of the following functional, operational and information divisions:

  • inside information;
  • foreign information;
  • on interaction with other special services of the country;
  • interaction with government agencies, private firms and public organizations;
  • media relations;
  • analytical;

According to available data, the staff of the IIB is relatively small. However, this does not affect the quality of the country’s main intelligence Agency. The fact is that the Bureau actively attracts agents from among recruited foreign citizens, as well as employees of state institutions and private organizations working abroad. According to Japanese journalists, employees of major Japanese news agencies and Japanese commercial and industrial firms are willing to cooperate with the IIB. Therefore, it is possible that when meeting for an interview with a journalist, for example, of the Kyodo Tsushin Agency, a high-ranking Russian official answers questions formulated by analysts of the Information research Bureau under the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan. By the way, the ISS staff members working abroad usually use diplomatic cover.

Putin depicted in Japanese Image.

Furthermore, the specific region of Vladivostok is not the first time Japanese showed interest. Special services of Japan prepared and carried out a provocation aimed at finding a suitable pretext for an armed invasion of the Soviet Far East. The essence of the operation was that on April 4, 1918, Japanese agents committed the murder of two Japanese citizens, which was immediately interpreted as the unwillingness of the Soviet authorities to protect the lives of Japanese subjects. The next day, the commander of the Japanese fleet, Admiral Kato, landed troops in Vladivostok and publicly stated that Japan was taking over the protection of order. Yes, these ties were much tighter in the last century than it seems.

For example, Japanese intelligence led by Kenji Doihara worked very hard and thoughtfully against our country. For example, the very rise of Doihara in 1912 occurred against the backdrop of the Lena shootings of 1912, for which (or rather for a number of provocations that led to them) he received a personal gratitude from the Mikado and an invitation to receive General Education at the Japanese Military Academy. The Russian Communist party, which was founded in Harbin in the 20s, was later awarded a medal for successfully instigating the Kirghiz Uprising of 1917 against the Russians, and he was also one of the founders of the Russian Fascist Party.

Doihara, for example, had an unusually entertaining idea about creating two Japanese intelligence departments to work against Russia, where only one had previously worked. Overall, Japanese intelligence can be described is a blend of Sun Tzu influence and the Prussian Army. The Royal Prussian Army, served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power. The Prussian Army had its roots in the core mercenary forces of Brandenburg during the Thirty Years’ War of 1618–1648. The German influence occurred during 1878, when it was tasked to help in creating an intelligence agency in Japan.

Coincidentally, there is also currently a Japanese individual and former employee of SoftBank that is accused of attempting to provide Russia classified information last year. Hence, he was committing espionage and was recruited by Russia.

In conclusion the game of espionage will continue. In this case the party was not detained in Russia due to their diplomatic status. However a few others continue to be charged with espionage, including the case of Paul Whelan.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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