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2014 January 8 - 14 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Munitions firm checks up on workers’ backgrounds using security authorities

January 7, 2014
Preceding the forcible enactment of the state secrets law by the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, a munitions company was checking up on its workers’ backgrounds with the help of public security authorities.

The Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ Gifu factory in Gifu Prefecture produces transport and patrol aircraft for the Self-Defense Forces. As Japan and the United States have deepened their military cooperation, various military secrets are held in such a factory.

“Because of classified information, they have kept secret the information related to those aircraft’s nuclear attack capability,” a former engineer at the factory said to Akahata.

Since the 1980s, the KHI has been in charge of maintenance of the American-made patrol aircraft P3Cs deployed to the Maritime SDF. When the aircraft were brought into Japan, the word “A-BOMB” painted on their bodies was removed. Under the U.S. nuclear strategy in the Cold War era, P3Cs were missioned to chase the Soviet Union’s nuclear submarines and attack them with nuclear bombs if called upon to do so.

Japan’s Defense Ministry instructed the company to establish strict procedures to protect military secrets. Based on the rules, the management has conducted background checks on its employees. When workers pass the screening, they can obtain a special ID card with photo and are allowed to deal with classified equipment and documents.

When applying for the qualifications, workers are required to fill in a form denoting personal information such as groups to which they belong, family relations, non-family relationships, and medical histories. “The form even asks if there is a school teacher among family members because the firm distrusted teachers,” an ex-worker said.

Furthermore, the corporation carries out another investigation to verify the information given by the applicants. Such investigations are conducted by the “security department” in the company in collaboration with the Public Security Investigation Agency, which is daily spying on civil groups under the name of “counterterrorism”.

Another former worker at the KHI testified, “An official told me that to check up on the background of a college graduate employee, all they have to do is to inform the security authorities of the employee’s name and faculty. Officials at the company’s security department go to workers’ hometowns to obtain reports from local police regarding their conduct.”

Past related article:
> SDF daily monitors its members with foreign partners [December 6, 2013]

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