SDF officer reprimanded for insulting lawmaker

The Japanese Ministry of Defense sanctioned a senior Self-Defense Forces officer for insulting a Diet member on a street on Tuesday while he was off duty. A report concluded that his act degraded the dignity an SDF member, let alone officer, should maintain.


The incident raised doubts about civilian control of the SDF being properly maintained. It’s a matter of concern that has haunted Japan since prior to and during World War II.


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But the ministry, however, denied that the case constituted a breakdown of the system. It is considered an isolated incident.


According to the ministry, the officer came across a member of the House of Councillors, Hiroyuki Konishi, near the Diet building on April 16 while he was jogging at night. The officer then told Konishi rude and inappropriate remarks.


The officer admitted during a probe that he made the remarks. But he has denied calling Konishi, a former member of the Democratic Party, an enemy of the people as Konishi claims.


The officer also said during the investigation that he had an overall image that Konishi spoke against the government and the SDF and that he believed he had to say something to the lawmaker.


A Defense Ministry official said he takes seriously the concerns raised over civilian control but also said that neither the Defense Ministry nor the SDF have endorsed any of these remarks made by this SDF officer .


This person, although he belonged to the Joint Staff Office, was acting in a private capacity and therefore, we don’t expect this case to affect the control over the SDF by the Diet.


The ministry did not issue disciplinary actions against the officer, a major in the Air Self- Defense Force, but the reprimand will still lead to a cut in his bonus payment.


The ministry has also decided to transfer the officer to the Western Air Defense Force headquarters in southwestern Japan.


Reference: Senior SDF member punished for insulting lawmaker on street


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