24 July 2017

News Story: Inada scandal over SDF logs puts Abe administration in dire straits

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada
Just days after the government denied Defense Minister Tomomi Inada's role in an alleged cover-up of daily logs filed by Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) peacekeepers, it made a dramatic about-face by stating that the defense minister, state minister and parliamentary vice minister will be subject to an investigation, which is now underway.

The Defense Ministry's Inspector General's Office of Legal Compliance has been carrying out a probe into the concealment of logs kept by GSDF personnel during a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan last year. Now that Inada and two other top ministry officials are subject to the probe in what is effectively a renewed investigation, the timeframe for releasing the probe results has been pushed back, badly derailing the government's plans to put the controversy in the rearview mirror as swiftly as possible.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a July 20 press conference, "I believe people should naturally be held accountable for the things that have been reported in the media."

Previously, the government had planned on releasing the results of the Inspector General's Office of Legal Compliance probe on July 21, ahead of off-session budget committee deliberations set to take place in both chambers of the Diet on July 24 and 25. The aim was to release an investigative report that refuted Inada's involvement, and then allow Inada to participate in the deliberations herself and deny culpability, so that the controversy could quickly be put to rest.

Such plans crumbled when reports emerged that Inada had been informed by senior GSDF officials that they would not release the logs, as well as other allegations pointing to her involvement in what is believed to have been a cover-up.

Read the full story at The Mainichi