- CRIME ＆ COURTS
MSDF captain 1st to be charged under designated secrets law
15:56 JST, December 27, 2022
A criminal charge has been issued for the first time under the Law on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets.
The Criminal Investigation Command of the Maritime Self-Defense Force referred MSDF Capt. Takashi Inoue, 54, to the Yokohama Public Prosecutors Office on Monday on suspicion of violations of the specially designated secrets law and the Self-Defense Forces Law.
The Defense Ministry the same day punished the captain with a disciplinary discharge for his alleged leakage in 2020 of specially designated classified information related to national security.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada also issued a ministerial order to check whether similar incidents have occurred.
At the time of his dismissal, Inoue was an officer at the MSDF Command and Staff College.
Another MSDF captain in his 50s at the college, who was formerly a staff officer in charge of intelligence at the headquarters of the Self-Defense Fleet, was suspended from duty for five days as a disciplinary measure for breach of his duty of care.
The ministry further judged that retired officers who were then the commander in chief of the Self-Defense Fleet and the MSDF chief of staff at the time of the alleged leakage should be punished for breach of their duty to direct and supervise. The then commander in chief should be given a pay cut for two months and the chief of staff a reprimand. The ministry is requesting the retired commander in chief to voluntarily return an amount equivalent to that pay cut.
According to the ministry, on March 19, 2020, at an MSDF office in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Inoue, then the commander of the Fleet Intelligence Command, explained national security circumstances to a retired vice admiral in person. The retired officer had also served as commander in chief of the Self-Defense Fleet.
Inoue allegedly offered the retired officer information gathered about the circumstances around Japan that falls into the category of specially designated secrets. Inoue also allegedly leaked secret information about operations of the SDF.
The retired officer had explained to Inoue that he wanted to update his information as he was often delivering lectures. Though he did not ask Inoue to offer information equivalent to specially designated secrets, Inoue was apparently in awe of the retired vice admiral. Inoue allegedly decided he needed to explain information that outsiders were not able to know.
The ministry has not confirmed if the retired vice admiral brought up the specially designated secrets in lectures or in written works.
The commander in chief of the Self-Defense Fleet at the time was among those who had given instructions for Inoue to provide briefings give explanations to the retired vice admiral. The staff officer in charge of intelligence at the time did not, however, convey to Inoue the commander in chief’s instruction to only do so within the range of disclosed information. The commander in chief also did not confirm the results of Inoue’s briefings to the retired vice admiral.
The ministry has established a commission led by State Minister Toshiro Ino to compile measures to prevent a recurrence of similar problems by the end of March.
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