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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 October 17 - 23  > MSDF was aware that government used wrong data about amount of fuel
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2007 October 17 - 23 [SDF]

MSDF was aware that government used wrong data about amount of fuel

October 23, 2007
Although the Maritime Staff Office on May 9, 2003 became aware of its mistake regarding the amount of fuel released only the day before, they did nothing about it, the Defense Ministry made public on October 22.

The MSDF supply ship Tokiwa provided the U.S. tanker Pecos with 800,000 gallons of fuel in the Indian Ocean on February 25, 2003. The Joint Staff Council chairman, however, wrongly announced on May 8, 2003, that the amount was about 200,000 gallons. The Defense Ministry admitted this mistake only last month after it was revealed by a citizens’ watchdog group.

The U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk that was refueled by Tokia via the U.S. tanker was to take part in the attack against Iraq. The suspicion that Japan’s fuel was used in U.S. operations in Iraq was growing at the time.

According to the ministry report, the MSO official did not report the mistake to his superior because the discussion on the possible diversion of Japan’s fuel was cooling down at that time.

On the contrary, this was a major political issue being discussed in the Diet at the time. In a House of Councilors Defense Committee meeting on May 15, 2003, for example, Japanese Communist Party representative Koizumi Chikashi took up this question. In reply, then Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru insisted that the amount was 200,000 gallons.

The government at that time was considering sending the SDF to Iraq in response to the U.S. government request. The revelation of the SDF’s illegitimate support to the U.S. war on Iraq would have obstructed its efforts for the SDF deployment.

A thorough investigation is needed to find out whether the Defense Ministry or the SDF has intentionally covered up the information.
- Akahata, October 23, 2007
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