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2013 November 13 - 19 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

I listed all my friends’ names in background check form: former SDF official

November 18, 2013
The state secrets protection bill the Abe government is aiming to enact in the current Diet session stipulates that authorities are required to evaluate the suitability of public servants and others for handling classified state information. Regarding this matter, a former Self-Defense Forces official recently told Akahata about SDF background checks on their personnel.

The testifier is Kato Yoshimi, 61, a former Captain in the SDF. Kato had served as chief of finance command at the Ground SDF Koga station in Ibaraki Prefecture from 1998 to 2000. This is the first time that an insider disclosed the actual contents of the SDF background checks to the media.

The SDF classifies defense secrets into three categories: top secret, secret, and confidential. Kato handled “secret” and “confidential” information at the time.

“I was required to periodically submit a report on my personal information,” Kato said. The investigation form questioned him about his career, friends, and his family members’ and relatives’ names, addresses, birth dates, occupations and offices.

“I wrote down all the names of my friends and acquaintances. In addition, I had to describe in detail my connection with them,” he said. “And I was prohibited from talking to my friends about the information concerning them that I presented to the authorities.”

Kato added that the documents he managed contained the personal information of individuals who take critical stances toward the SDF as well as the schedules of peace rallies. This supports Akahata’s previous reports on SDF’s unconstitutional acts monitoring the activities of the general public.

The former SDF officer pointed out that the national government intends to give an official stamp to those acts by passing the secrets protection bill through the Diet. “I won’t tolerate them trampling on people’s livelihoods and their right to know under the name of ‘secrets protection’,” he stressed.
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