Psst! The Public Security Intelligence Agency — which carries out both domestic and overseas intelligence gathering — is offering college students a chance to try their hand at spycraft.

The free, one-day introduction to the secret world of espionage is slated for August 31 and is open to first- and second-year college students. Only 10 or so will be selected to participate, but the PSIA hopes the experience will “expand” their future career choices.

A spokesman for the PSIA said the students will be assigned a mission to investigate the activity of a certain foreign country. They will go through the whole process of intelligence assessment, from obtaining confidential information to analyzing it and reporting the result to the prime minister’s office.

“Compared to the police and Self-Defense Forces, little is known about our work, which is not widely covered by media,” the spokesman said.

“I hope the participants will realize that our research and analysis actually affect the government’s decision-making.”

Established in 1952, the PSIA is administered by the Justice Ministry. Japan has a number of other bodies whose purview includes intelligence gathering, such as the Intelligence and Analysis Service, which is run by the Foreign Ministry. But the PSIA is tasked with guarding against internal and external threats to the nation, such as terrorist attacks, and is responsible for conducting surveillance and intelligence-gathering.

The threats are wide-ranging. The PSIA conducted work related to the execution of two Japanese hostages by the Islamic State group in Syria in late January. It has also been investigating the Aum Shinrikyo cult since it was revealed the group set up software firms that might pose security risks to Japan. And it has conducted activities related to North Korea.

The one-day program was introduced last year and was offered to high school students.

More information is available at www.moj.go.jp/psia/2015taikentour.html. The agency began accepting applications Wednesday, and they must be submitted by the end of this month via email at psia@moj.go.jp.

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