Edward Snowden, the fugitive former CIA employee and NSA contractor who leaked secrets about America’s spying operations, often hung out online with foreigners in Japan who shared his interests in anime, video games, martial arts, the stock market and the expat lifestyle.

Snowden, who learned Japanese as a teenager, was a Japanophile who had longtime connections to the country and several people here, who perhaps had no idea that their online friend was doing top-secret work for the U.S. government.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.