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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 October 17 - 23  > MSDF covered up ‘mistaken’ amount of oil supplied to U.S. ships
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2007 October 17 - 23 [SDF]

MSDF covered up ‘mistaken’ amount of oil supplied to U.S. ships

October 22, 2007
A high defense ministry official revealed on October 21 that the Maritime Self-Defense Force Staff Office knew in 2003 that it had mistakenly reported to the government the amount of oil provided by an MSDF supply ship to a U.S. Navy supply ship in February 2003, but that it failed to report the mistake to then Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru.

In May 2003, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo and defense chief Ishiba stated in the Diet and in news conferences that the MSDF supply ship Tokiwa in February of the same year provided 200,000 gallons of oil to the U.S. supply ship Pecos.

Last September, the Defense Ministry corrected the amount to 800,000 gallons after a citizens’ group pointed out the mistake.

The ministry explained that the mistake occurred during an input of data. In the House of Representatives Plenary Session on October 3, Prime Minister Fukuda apologized for “the technical mistake” and said, “It was indeed regrettable.”

A suspicion has surfaced that the oil the MSDF ship provided to the Pecos may have been used for U.S. military operations in Iraq because the Pecos then immediately refueled the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk that was involved in Iraq operations.

The refueling operation has been carried out in accordance with the “Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law” provision that the supplied oil can be used exclusively for assisting in operations concerning Afghanistan.

At the news conference on October 21, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo stated, “This is an unconscionable cover-up of a so-called ‘mistake.’ It is very serious that the mistake was intentionally covered up.”

Speaking to reporters on the same day, Democratic Party Diet Policy Committee Chair Yamaoka Kenji said that the government must not evade responsibility for the matter. SDF officials, including former Vice Defense Minister Moriya Takemasa, the then SDF Joint Staff Council chair, and the then MSDF staff office chief, who had been supposedly involved in the cover-up, must be summoned before the Diet to answer questions, he said.

Yamaoka also said, “It is highly possible that the information about the ‘mistake’ reached then Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda.” - Akahata, October 22, 2007
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