Japan's GSDF chief of staff to resign over troop's activity logs scandal

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-27 11:24:40|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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TOKYO, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF)'s chief of staff will resign to take account for a long-running scandal involving the alleged coverup of the daily record logs of the activities of U.N. peacekeepers in South Sudan, local media said Thursday.

Kyodo News quoting a government source, named Gen. Toshiya Okabe as the GSDF's top brass who will step down, although Okabe has not confirmed this when questioned on the matter on Thursday morning, according to local media reports.

Okabe will relinquish his position as he was apparently among top officials who collectively decided to conceal the existence of the logs.

The Defense Ministry had at first said the logs had been discarded by members of the GSDF, but later said that a digital version of the logs had been found.

Under intense media, public and political scrutiny over the coverup scandal, which is also alleged to involve Defense Minister Tomomi Inada who opposition parties have vehemently called to resign for knowing the logs existed, the ministry conducted an internal probe into the matter.

The outcome of the investigation is likely to be announced on Friday, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The latest development in the meantime follows the defense ministry initially saying in December last year that the mission logs from July detailing the increasingly severe situation for the Japanese troops, had been discarded by GSDF members.

The defense ministry in February, under pressure from opposition parties and the public, said in a volte-face it had found the logs in digital format on a computer belonging to the Self-Defense Forces Joint Staff Office.

But the ministry, at this juncture, still falsely claimed that the GSDF had discarded the same data.

The descriptions in the controversial logs would have certainly seen the Japanese troops withdrawn from the area in South Sudan as the troops could have become caught up in fighting there, which would not only endanger their lives, but also contravene the nation's pacifist constitution.

When Japan did finally pull its GSDF troops from the U.N. mission at the end of May this year, it said it was because the troops' activities had produced notable results during their five-year placement.

The government here made no mention of the troops being pulled because of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in South Sudan.