(Sankei: June 7, 2015 – Top play)
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police has conducted a house search for a former senior Ground Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) official and questioned him on suspicion of communicating with Russian Embassy officials who are alleged to be involved in intelligence activity, an informed source revealed on June 6. The Public Security Bureau in the Tokyo police suspects that he may have leaked information that he accessed while on duty. The SDF Act obliges officials to maintain confidentiality. The authorities are carefully looking into the case that may constitute a breach of confidentiality.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the former GSDF official is in his 60s and retired in 2009 after serving in several key posts in the GSDF.
After leaving the GSDF, the sources say, he began developing acquaintances with Russian Embassy officials.
He is suspected of having passed a booklet describing the GSDF’s war tactics to Russian officials. The police think that he acquired the booklet through his subordinates who had worked with him before. He is said to have admitted to the transfer of the material to the Russian side when questioned by police.
The Public Security Bureau inquired of the Ministry of Defense about the booklet he allegedly handed over to Russian officials after confirming its contents and learned that it can be purchased by any SDF official and contains little classified information. The authorities are scrutinizing the GSDF official on suspicion that he may have leaked information of higher confidentially.
The SDF Act prohibits SDF officials from leaking information that they may have acquired while performing their duties. That confidentiality rule is applied to retired officials as well.
According to informed sources, the Russian Embassy officials that the former GSDF official has kept in touch with include people from a Russian military intelligence service agency known as GRU.
The GRU sends its agents undercover as diplomats to embassies around the world. Cases of espionage with suspected Russian involvement have been exposed in various parts of the world.
Japan’s technological expertise and cutting-edge military technology that the U.S. brings to Japan are considered “invaluable information” to Russia, a Public Security Bureau official says.
Russia is said to attach greater importance to Japan’s strategy to maintain dialogue through handling the Ukraine crisis and strategies of the U.S. and other countries that are imparted through Japan. It is reported that Moscow is stepping up its intelligence gathering in Japan.
Several intelligence leaks involving the GRU and other Russian agencies have been exposed in Japan before. The leakers included Japanese government intelligence officials and SDF officials. They are said to have provided such information as public polls on government policies and internal reports on overseas developments and reactions. There were cases in which Japanese had received requests for information of higher confidentiality from Russian agents. (Abridged)