Discovery Abroad of Old Ground Self-Defense Force Vehicles Invites Strict Govt Response

Jiji Press
Defense Minister Minoru Kihara speaks to reporters on Tuesday.

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said Tuesday the government would respond strictly to the discovery of retired Ground Self-Defense Force high-mobility vehicles overseas.

“As a minister, I take this matter very seriously,” Kihara told reporters after a Cabinet meeting. He also said the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency would conduct ahead of schedule an investigation in Southeast Asia, where the vehicles are thought to have been shipped.

When the GSDF sells off at auction high-mobility vehicles that have reached the end of their service life, the winning bidder must destroy the vehicles to prevent misuse. The scrap iron is then recycled.

However, a lawmaker in the Diet pointed out that the vehicles may have been shipped overseas, prompting the agency to investigate successful bidders going back to April.

“If the vehicles were not dismantled and crushed, it would be a serious breach of contract,” Kihara said.

He added that the government would prevent similar incidents by tightening bidding rules, such as to require that the vehicles be destroyed in the presence of Defense Ministry officials.