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Ex-Japanese colonel indicted over defense secret leakage

  • February 7, 2020
  • , Kyodo News , 9:58 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo prosecutors indicted on Friday a former officer in Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force on a charge of leaking confidential information on U.S.-made military aircraft to unauthorized individuals.


According to the indictment, So Kanno, a 58-year-old former colonel, showed two persons including a trade house employee data on the capability of an E-2D airborne early warning plane at the ASDF’s Iruma Air Base in Saitama Prefecture on Jan. 9, 2013.


The data are designated as special defense secrets based on the Japan-U.S. Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement.


After showing the data to the two people on a personal computer, he also gave them a USB memory device containing the secrets, it said.


The incident came to light in October 2014 as the U.S. government notified the Defense Ministry of the leakage.


The U.S. government was informed of the leakage by a U.S. aircraft manufacturer, which received the data from the trade firm.


Japan plans to purchase a total of 13 E-2D aircraft made by Northrop Grumman Corp. after going through the selection process in 2014, with the first one already being deployed to the Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture in March last year.


Japan’s Defense Ministry has said the leakage did not influence the selection of the aircraft.


Kanno left the ASDF in February 2017 with severance benefits after reaching the mandatory retirement age.


“We truly regret the incident, which damaged the people’s trust and could shake the relationship of trust between Japan and the United States,” the ministry said in a statement.


“We will conduct our investigation based on facts to be exposed in the trial and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future,” it said.

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