Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office


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Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office (CIRO)
Naikaku Jōhō Chōsashitsu (Naicho)
Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office Logo.jpg
Official Naicho/CIRO logo.
Agency overview
Formed1986 (CIRO establishment)
Preceding agencies
  • Research Office (1952)[1]
  • Cabinet Research Center/Cabinet Research Office (1957)[2][1]
JurisdictionGovernment of Japan
HeadquartersNagatacho, Tokyo, Japan
Agency executive
  • Hiroaki Takizawa, Director of Cabinet Intelligence
Parent agencyCabinet Secretariat (in Japanese)

The Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office (内閣情報調査室, Naikaku Jōhō Chōsashitsu),[3] also known as Naichō (内調), is a Japanese intelligence agency under the Cabinet Secretariat. It reports directly to the Prime Minister.

The agency is said to be an equal to the American Central Intelligence Agency.[4] However, it is often criticized as being rather ineffectual, spending most of its energy translating foreign publications rather than gathering any substantial intelligence,[5] while being accused of spying on Japanese nationals on domestic soil.[5]

Like most intelligence agencies in Japan, its personnel are usually recruited from other agencies.[6] Around 100 out of 170 CIRO agents are from other agencies/ministries with top positions occupied by career police officers.[7]

As of 2019, the CIRO has close contact with the National Security Council (Japan) as a communication channel to the prime minister. The CIRO is headquartered in Chiyoda, Tokyo, in a building called "H20".[8]


The CIRO was created by the Allied Forces through the formation of the Prime Ministers's Research Office (内閣総理大臣官房調査室, Naikakusōri Daijin Kanbō Chōsa-Shitsu)[2] in April 1952 with Jun Murai as the first director in an attempt to replicate its structure after the CIA.[7] But due to widespread opposition, this plan was discarded.[7] The RO was placed under jurisdiction of the Prime Minister's office in 1957 and was known as the Cabinet Research Office (内閣調査室, Naikaku Chōsa-Shitsu).[1] The CRO was later renamed as the CIRO in 1986.[1]

The Cabinet Intensive Information Center was established on April 11, 1996 to ensure that the CIRO can inform the Prime Minister in case of severe emergencies.[4] It's located in the Prime Minister's residence.[4]

In August 2007, discussions of intelligence reforms through the paper Improvement of Counter-Intelligence Functions resulted in the establishment of the Counterintelligence Center.[9] It's been suggested that the CIC can be used as the basis for the creation of an actual external intelligence agency similar to the CIA.[10]

In 2013, CIRO satellite imagery analysis was used to assist NGOs in Tacloban for reconstruction work in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.[11]

Since 2015, CIRO agents are usually recruited to be sent to the International Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Collection Unit.[12][13]

Spy scandal

On January 17, 2008, an official of Naichō was charged for spying for Russians, passing them classified information. The Russians denied the claim.[14] Since then, there had been calls for greater accountability on Naichō.[15]


Naichō headquarters occupies 6th floor of the Cabinet Office Building

According to its official web site, organization of Naichō is as follows:[16]

  • Director of Cabinet Intelligence (内閣情報官)
  • Deputy Director of Cabinet Intelligence (次長)
  • Divisions
    • General Affairs Division (総務部門): Has Human Resources, Budget and academic experts.
    • Domestic Division (国内部門): Collect information based on domestic media, including newspapers, magazines and from news broadcasts.
    • International Division (国際部門): Collect information based on foreign media and broadcasts from another country, including CIRO agents based overseas.
    • Economy Division (経済部門): Studies domestic/international economic information.
  • Cabinet Intensive Information Center (内閣情報集約センター): Secures information related to disasters and other emergencies. Staffed by twenty agents from the Ministry of Defense, National Police Agency, Fire Disaster and Management Agency and the Japan Coast Guard.
  • Cabinet Intelligence Analysts (内閣情報分析官)
  • Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center (内閣衛星情報センター): Operates a network of surveillance satellites, such as the IGS-Optical and IGS-Radar series. As of June 2018, Japan has six functioning observation satellites in orbit.[17] It was established in 2001 and has 320 personnel employed with at least 100 of them being imagery intelligence analysts.[7] The Deputy Director position is filled by a senior officer from the NPA.[18]
  • Counterintelligence Center (カウンターインテリジェンスセンター): Coordinates government action based on the " Improvement of Counter-Intelligence Functions " policy.

Known heads of Naichō

  • Yoshio Omori[19]
  • Kazuhiro Sugita (Jan. 2001–Apr. 2001)[20]
  • Toshinori Kanemoto (Apr. 2001–Apr. 2006)[21]
  • Hideshi Mitani (Apr. 2006–Apr. 2010)[22]
  • Shinichi Uematsu (Apr. 2010–Dec. 2011)[23]
  • Shigeru Kitamura (Dec. 2011 – September 2019)[8][24]
  • Hiroaki Takizawa (September 2019 – Present)[25][26]


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "Names of Government Organizations and Positions" (PDF). Cabinet Secretariat. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
  4. ^ a b c Andrew Oros (2008-06-09). "Japan's Growing Intelligence Capabilities" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  5. ^ a b "Cabinet Research Office". Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  6. ^ "Abe administration considering creating MI6-style spy agency". 6 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d Davis and Gustafson, page. 183.
  8. ^ a b Gallagher, Ryan (May 19, 2018). "The Untold Story of Japan's Secret Spy Agency". Archived from the original on May 21, 2018.
  9. ^ Davis and Gustafson, page. 188.
  10. ^ 窪田順生 『スピンドクター モミ消しのプロが駆使する「情報操作」の技術』 講談社+α新書 p.101
  11. ^
  12. ^ "To Fight Terror, Japan Must Fix Its Intelligence Apparatus".
  13. ^ "Japan's counterterrorism efforts falling short". 5 March 2016.
  14. ^ "A Japanese Faces Spy Charges". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on January 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  15. ^ "Japan's Cabinet urges tighter controls amid Russian spy scandal". Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  16. ^ "内閣情報調査室". Cabinet Secretariat. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  17. ^ "Japan Places Eighth Reconnaissance Satellite in Orbit – Via Satellite -". 13 June 2018.
  18. ^ Dover, Goodman and Hillebrand, page 203
  19. ^ Hiroko Nakata (2007-01-11). "Creating new security system fraught with obstacles". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  20. ^ 内閣危機管理監 (in Japanese). Cabinet Secretariat. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  21. ^ 内閣情報官 (in Japanese). Cabinet Secretariat. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  22. ^ 内閣情報官 (in Japanese). Cabinet Secretariat. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  23. ^ 内閣情報官 (in Japanese). Cabinet Secretariat. Archived from the original on 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  24. ^ "Top Intelligence Post Vacant". Japan Security Watch. Archived from the original on 2016-11-12. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  25. ^ "国家安全保障局長に北村滋氏 谷内氏退任、後任内閣情報官は滝沢氏". 11 September 2019.
  26. ^ "内閣情報官 瀧澤 裕昭(たきざわ ひろあき)|内閣官房ホームページ".


  • Davies, Philip H.J.; Gustafson, Kristian, eds. (2013). Intelligence Elsewhere: Spies and Espionage Outside the Anglosphere. Georgetown University Press. ISBN 978-1589019560.
  • Dover, Robert; Goodman, Michael S.; Hillebrand, Claudia, eds. (2014). Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1589019560.
  • Samuels, Richard J. (2019). Special Duty: A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-1501741586.

External links

  • Official Site (in Japanese)