Defense Agency obtained personal information to recruit SDF members

A newspaper reported on April 22 that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces has had local governments provide them with teenagers' personal information since 1966 to facilitate recruitment of young men into the SDF.

In 1955, one year after its establishment, the Defense Agency began to collect the lists of young people who will soon become eligible to join the SDF from local governments. In 1966, the DA formally requested local governments to cooperate with the DA in its recruitment efforts. About 3,000 local governments, or 30 percent, provided such lists to local SDF offices. Information included addresses, names, and dates of birth.

In Ishikawa, the local SDF office and the prefectural government have requested municipalities to provide information about teenagers' health, their guardians' names, occupation, licenses, etc.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Haruna Naoaki used his question time in a Lower House committee meeting on the same day to point out that what the DA and the SDF have been doing is unlawful.

A director of the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications admitted that supplying such information is not required by the personal data protection act. The Home Affairs minister also stated that he is not sure if local governments' way of providing information to the SDF is legal.

Insisting that the information gathering violated the freedom of ideology and belief, Haruna demanded that the Defense Agency make all related documents available to the Diet in order to have a thorough discussion on the matter. (end)

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