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*-- Obama apologizes to Japan over U.S. spying allegations --*

WASHINGTON - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked President Obama to investigate claims Washington spied on the Japanese government and companies, saying if it was true "it could shake our relationship of trust."

During their 40 minute telephone conversation Wednesday, Obama offered an apology for the alleged spying by the National Security Agency on 35 Japanese companies, government ministries and individuals. It is not clear if Obama confirmed or denied the allegations.

"President Obama said he was very sorry as the case caused a big debate in Japan," said Tokyo government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.

Last month, WikiLeaks posted documents that suggested conversations involving the government, some bankers and business were secretly monitored by the U.S. agency.

During the conversation between Obama and Abe, which took place at Washington's request, the two sides also discussed Chinese President Xi Jinping's scheduled visit to the U.S. next month, in addition to rising tensions in the Korean peninsular.


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