Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Ground Self-Defense Force research body claimed that daily activity logs for the GSDF’s past mission in Iraq were nonexistent in responding to a disclosure request, although it was aware of their presence, a Defense Ministry official said Tuesday.
The GSDF’s former Ground Research and Development Command learned of the existence of the logs in question on March 27, 2017, but reported to the Ground Staff Office three days later that they did not exist, Kenichi Takahashi, director general of the defense minister’s Secretariat, told the House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
At least several officials of the research body, now called the Training Evaluation Research and Development Command, knew that the logs did exist, according to ministry officials.
They failed to report about the logs to then Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, as they did not recognize the importance of the documents, the ministry officials said.
“This is nothing short of a systematic cover-up,” Satoshi Inoue of the Japanese Communist Party told the upper house committee.
Current Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera expressed his intention to look into who knew the documentary disclosure request was made and that the Iraq logs existed.
He also called for probes into what kind of communication took place from when the disclosure request was made until the Ground Staff Office was told that they did not exist. He promised to report the findings in the Diet.
Also on Tuesday, Onodera told the committee that the government will consider creating manuals to standardize the styles of daily activity logs written by SDF troops dispatched overseas.
The step, intended to improve the management of such reports, comes after the revelation that the discovery of GSDF Iraq activity logs remained undisclosed for more than a year.
Regarding the allegation that an instruction by then minister Inada to search for the Iraq logs made in February last year was not conveyed properly, Masayoshi Tatsumi, then administrative vice chief of staff at the SDF’s Joint Staff, admitted that there were flaws in how he handled the matter.
“Being in a position to support the minister, I should have specifically indicated the scope and methods of the search,” said Tatsumi, now deputy director general of the minister’s Secretariat. “The wording I used to convey the instruction had room for improvement.”Speech