20 July 2017

News Story: Gov't denies defense chief's reported role in alleged coverup of logs

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada
(Image: Wiki Commons)
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The government on Wednesday denied a report alleging Defense Minister Tomomi Inada allowed officials to conceal the existence of controversial activity logs of Japanese peacekeepers in South Sudan, following claims by her ministry that the records had been discarded.

"Ms. Inada has said no such event took place" as reported, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference, while declining to comment further on the grounds that an internal investigation is pending on the matter.

Inada said the same day she neither authorized the concealment of the logs nor approved a plan to withhold the fact that they existed.

Kyodo News reported the defense minister's role in the suspected coverup on Tuesday, citing government sources.

The Defense Ministry had said the Ground Self-Defense Force had discarded the logs recorded by its members taking part in a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the fledging African country.

Digital data from the logs were later found, but top officials decided at a meeting on Feb. 15 they would not uncover this fact, with Inada agreeing to the concealment, according to the sources.

On top of that, the defense minister had been briefed on the discovery of the logs by a senior official of the Ground Staff Office of the GSDF on Feb. 13, two days before the meeting, government sources said Wednesday.

Tetsuo Kuroe, the ministry's top bureaucrat who reportedly participated in the Feb. 15 meeting along with the minister, said he had no recollection of the meeting, saying he did not believe Inada had given such approval.

Read the full story at The Mainichi