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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 February 19 - 25  > NGOs question Defense Ministry’s holding of personal info
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2014 February 19 - 25 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

NGOs question Defense Ministry’s holding of personal info

February 20, 2014
Seven NGOs engaging in support operations in Afghanistan on February 19 sent an open letter to the Defense Minister regarding the revelation that the Defense Ministry has kept a file on personal information of Japanese citizens involved in their activities.

According to the Tokyo Shimbun’s article, the Defense Ministry has a list of the Japanese citizens staying in Afghanistan as of May 15, 2008. The list reportedly includes the names, organizations, cell phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of those who belong to the Japanese embassy, NGOs, and local offices of Japanese companies.

The open letter raises five questions, including why and how the Defense Ministry obtained such personal information and how it is being used.

Representatives of four out of the seven NGOs held a press conference on the same day in Tokyo. Hasebe Takatoshi, secretary general of the Japan International Volunteer Center, said, “If the list is held by the Foreign Ministry, it is understandable as we regularly share local security information with the Japanese embassy. It is surprising and upsetting to find out that the list was actually held by the Defense Ministry.”

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