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 (1957)[2]
JurisdictionGovernment of Japan
HeadquartersNagatacho, Tokyo, Japan
Agency executive
Parent agencyCabinet Secretariat (in Japanese)

The Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office (内閣情報調査室, Naikaku Jōhō Chōsashitsu),[3] Naichō (内調), is an intelligence agency of Japan, an agency of the Cabinet Secretariat, which 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 was created by the Allied Forces through the formation of the Research Office[2] on 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.[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.[8] 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.[9]

In 2013, CIRO satellite imagery analysis was used to assist NGOs in Tacloban for reconstruction work in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.[10]

Since 2015, CIRO agents are usually recruited to be sent to the International Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Collection Unit.[11][12]

Spy scandal[edit]

On January 17, 2008, an official of Naichō was charged for spying for Russians, passing them classified information. The Russians denied the claim.[13] Since then, there had been calls for greater accountability on Naichō.[14]


Naichō headquarters occupies 6th floor of the Cabinet Office Building

According to its official web site, organization of Naichō is as follows:[15]

  • 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.[16] 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.[17]
  • 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.

The CIRO is headquartered in Chiyoda, Tokyo, in a building called "H20".[18]

Known heads of Naichō[edit]

  • 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– )[18][24]


  1. ^ a b c
  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. ^
  7. ^ a b c d Davis and Gustafson, page. 183.
  8. ^ Davis and Gustafson, page. 188.
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "A Japanese Faces Spy Charges". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on January 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  14. ^ "Japan's Cabinet urges tighter controls amid Russian spy scandal". Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  15. ^ "内閣情報調査室". Cabinet Secretariat. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Dover, Goodman and Hillebrand, page 203
  18. ^ a b Gallagher, Ryan (May 19, 2018). "The Untold Story of Japan's Secret Spy Agency". Archived from the original on May 21, 2018.
  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.


  • 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.

External links[edit]