Defense Agency shuns unraveling 'systematic' list-making on info-seekers' privacy

The Defense Agency on June 11 published a report on the allegation that the agency's senior officials had been illegally making a list of personal information that includes the ideology and belief of citizens who requested records from the agency.

The report admitted that it was illegal for the Maritime Self-Defense Force staff office to make such a list and circulate it among senior officials. But it concluded that posting the list on the agency's local area network (LAN) was "not illegal." The report evaded discussing the core of the question: whether the list was being made "systematically" or not.

At the news conference, the Defense Agency only released a 4-page executive summary of the 44-page report due to pressure from the ruling parties on the agency not to own up. Faced with fierce criticism for this, the agency later published the 40 page-body of the report.

Commenting on the report, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi said that the biggest problem is that the Defense Agency and the Self-Defense Forces act to keep citizens under surveillance instead of protecting them. He demanded that the Diet summon the officials concerned and investigate how and why the illegal action was taken.

Referring to the prevalent practice of list-making at the Maritime, Ground, and Air staff offices, the Defense Agency, and the Defense Facilities Administration Agency, Ichida argued that this is obviously a "systematic" act and pointed out that the ruling parties were apparently trying to cover up the greater part of the report. (end)