(Sentaku: March 2016 – p. 98)
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Defense’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) are blaming each other over the leakage of “specially designated secrets.”
In January this year, the Asahi Shimbun gave top play to an article that revealed that the SDF and the U.S. military created a scenario for joint operations in the event of a contingency in the Senkakus [under the Noda administration in 2012]. Immediately after the article was released, the U.S. government objected vehemently via diplomatic channels, saying, “Investigate this and tell us who leaked the information.”
The scenario has become the draft for a joint operations plan currently being developed based on the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (Guidelines) [which were revised in April 2015]. The scenario apparently consists of four consecutive stages and was worked out by executives of the joint staff office of Japan’s Defense Ministry and the command center of the U.S. Forces Japan. It is said that the plan used code names, rather than specifying “China” and “Senkakus.” A Japanese government source affirmed, “The content of the article is accurate and must have been divulged by someone involved.” A MOFA source said, “It is highly likely that this is an infringement of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets.”
MOFA unofficially communicated to the U.S. government that “it seems that the information was divulged by the SDF.” This assumption was made because the SDF’s internal study fell into the hands of the Japanese Communist Party during the deliberations on the security-related legislation last year and was seen as problematic at the Diet. The SDF, however, countered by saying, “There is no way that the plan was leaked to the outside by the SDF because it is the SDF that would be harmed by such leakage.” It is thought that the U.S. government is not convinced by MOFA’s explanation either. Ironically, a project intended to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance has caused relations to cool instead.