July 18 (UPI) — Japan’s defense minister may have denied the existence of a log of Japanese military activity in South Sudan, even after being briefed on the availability of the vital records, according to Kyodo News.
Tomomi Inada is suspected of approving the withholding of information about the records of Tokyo’s ground self-defense force, after the defense ministry had said the log had been discarded, the Japanese report states.
Inada had previously said she was unaware of the status of the logs, but she may have made the statement even after she was informed of their availability in a digital format.
The logs cover the period between late 2016 and early 2017.
The chronicles of military activity contained “controversial elements regarding the security situation in South Sudan,” according to Kyodo.
Japan’s constitution has severe restrictions on the use of weapons.
Inada denied there was any truth to the claim she approved of a decision to withhold information, a statement she also made in March before Japan’s parliament.
She also recently courted controversy during a political rally in Tokyo, when she asked voters to support the ruling Liberal Democratic Party over rivals on behalf of the defense ministry and the military.
The defense minister previously drew the ire of the political opposition after she defended a statement on nuclear armament in 2016, although Japan is a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and relies on the U.S. extended nuclear deterrent.
Inada was appointed defense minister in August 2016.