Aum member helped install MSDF system

An Aum Shinrikyo member helped develop the command and control system of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, police sources revealed Thursday.

Sources close to the Metropolitan Police Department identified the member only as a 25-year-old contract employee at a software firm.

The revelation apparently shocked the Defense Agency as the system handles intelligence involving key components of the MSDF, including warships, frontline air units and five regional headquarters in Japan.

The system, based in the Self-Defense Fleet Headquarters in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, links the five regional headquarters with other major headquarters in Japan and controls information on warship and aircraft movements.

The host computer in the Yokosuka headquarters was developed by eight companies, including NTT Data Corp., between fiscal 1995 and fiscal 1998. It started operating last March.

A Maritime Staff Office spokesman said: “The MSDF is investigating what part of the system was developed by the Aum member. The MSDF will repair the system if necessary.”

In February, computer software companies linked to the doomsday cult were found to have developed systems for a total of 190 government ministries and major companies.

The firms also helped install communication management equipment at Ground Self-Defense Force headquarters.

Aum founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, is on trial for murder and other charges in connection with the March 1995 gas attack on Tokyo’s subways and other crimes.