• Kyodo

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The Defense Agency will set up an internal committee tasked with creating measures to prevent espionage, such as the case involving a Russian diplomat and a Maritime Self-Defense Force officer, Defense Agency chief Kazuo Torashima said Tuesday.

Torashima unveiled the plan in a meeting with Japanese reporters accompanying him on his trip to the United States.

The measures being considered by the committee, to be created within this month, will include prohibiting Self-Defense Forces officials from contacting foreign military attaches stationed in Japan on an individual basis and banning the photocopying of classified documents, Torashima said.

The measures also call for the Defense Agency to step up cooperation with security authorities to crack down on suspected espionage cases, the defense chief said.

Security on the SDF’s computer systems will also be strengthened to make outside access to classified data difficult, he said.

Last week, Japanese police arrested a senior MSDF officer for allegedly passing defense secrets to a Russian military attache in Japan who is believed to be an intelligence officer.

The attache claimed diplomatic immunity and quickly returned to Russia.

The incident threatened the public’s confidence in the SDF, Torashima said, noting the Defense Agency wants to create a new information control system as early as possible.

On North Korea, Torashima said Japan will invite the country to a forum of defense officials in the Asia-Pacific region to be held in Tokyo in October.

In late July, North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun participated for the first time in the Bangkok meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum, which is the only multilateral group addressing Asia-Pacific security issues.

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