JASDF confirms Internet leak of training data
NAHA, Okinawa — Japanese officials confirmed Thursday that photographs of antiterrorist training conducted at Naha Air Base and the location of base buildings were broadcast by mistake on the Internet.
Also sent out was information about U.S. and Japanese military activities in the Middle East.
“We learned that information was leaked on the Internet through a privately owned computer, which was infected with a virus through Winny, a file-sharing program,” a Japan Air Self-Defense Forces spokesman told Stars and Stripes.
The leaked information originated with a second lieutenant deployed to Iraq and now assigned to the JASDF’s Naha Air Base, Japanese media reported. Police seized the lieutenant’s personal computer Wednesday.
“The data leaked on the Internet includes information on training conducted at Naha Air Base and activities in supporting the reconstruction of Iraq,” a JASDF spokesman said.
He said it also included the location of base buildings.
According to Japanese media reports, part of the leaked information contained documents released by the U.S. command in the Middle East describing quantities of supplies airlifted from U.S. military bases in Iraq, Kuwait and other countries.
The investigation into the leak was launched after the data was reported posted on an Internet bulletin board, according to the news reports.
Officials at JASDF headquarters in Tokyo were guarded in their response to the news reports.
“As far as the content of the leaked material, we will refrain from making any comment because there is a risk of encouraging further research and, consequently, further spread of the information,” said Maj. Kazutomo Takahashi of the JASDF public affairs office.
He said the agency believed the information was spread on the Internet Nov. 24.
“However, the data was no longer considered classified,” he added. “So, we do not think that it would cause any immediate or direct harm. The case is presently being closely investigated.”
Takahashi would not confirm the officer’s identity.
“The source of leakage is not releasable,” he said. “To disclose the origin of the leak could further spread the information.”
He said the person would be punished.
In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki on Thursday called on the Defense Agency to take “firm steps” to prevent a recurrence.
“Although the information leaked on the Internet did not contain anything that was under any classified category, the fact that such incident occurred itself is extremely regrettable,” Shiozaki said at a news conference. “To properly maintain confidential information is not only the basis of security for our nation, but also a matter that affects relations of mutual trust with our allies.”
In June, the agency punished 47 personnel in the air, maritime and ground self-defense forces over six separate information leakage incidents, Takahashi said. In all of the cases, the information was leaked from home computers.
In the wake of those leaks, the Self Defense Agency in April issued guidelines that prohibit personnel from downloading classified information into their personal computers.