Senior officials of the Defense Ministry have exclusively told NHK that the head of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force had been informed that the GSDF possesses daily reports from peace-keepers stationed in South Sudan. The ministry earlier said the reports had been discarded.
The records detail the daily activity of the Self-Defense Force unit on a UN peacekeeping mission in the African country South Sudan.
In December, the Defense Ministry said reports by the unit during major armed clashes in July of last year had been discarded by the GSDF. But it was revealed that in fact the GSDF electronically stored the records.
The senior ministry officials said Ground Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff, General Toshiya Okabe, was told of the existence of the records in mid-January. They said the GSDF at one time considered making the contents of the records publicly available.
But in late January, top ministry bureaucrats ruled out releasing the records because they contradicted official statements.
In February, high-ranking GSDF officers ordered the division in charge to delete the digital data.
At a news conference on Thursday, General Toshiya Okabe declined to comment on the matter. He said he takes the situation seriously and that the GSDF will fully cooperate with the Defense Ministry in a special investigation of the matter.
Earlier in the day, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada ordered an independent probe into the issue.
STREET FOOD! We're back for more in one of Japan's most traditional cities, Nara.
What was once Japan's capitol is now a place loaded with delicious street food for humans and deer alike. So, what's Nara got to offer? I hope you're hungry! (ONLY in JAPAN )
Japan's Liberal Democratic Party on Friday submitted a record of email exchanges in which Akie Abe, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife, denies her alleged payment of one million yen to an embattled school operator. (Jiji)
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada ordered the Ground Self-Defense Force on Friday to withdraw its engineering troops taking part in a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan by the end of May. (Jiji)
New textbooks authorized for use in Japan's senior high schools from April next year contain more descriptions on foreign and defense policies undertaken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, such as the ability to engage in collective self-defense, according to the results of the education ministry's latest textbook screening disclosed Friday. (Japan Today)