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Prosecutors on Friday indicted a senior officer in the Maritime Self-Defense Force on charges of passing defense secrets to a Russian military attache in Tokyo.

Lt. Cmdr. Shigehiro Hagisaki, 38, a researcher at the Defense Agency’s National Institute for Defense Studies, was charged with violating the Self-Defense Forces Law, which prohibits SDF members from divulging classified security information.

According to police, Hagisaki allegedly gave between 30 and 40 copies of classified MSDF documents to Viktor Bogatenkov, 44, on at least 10 occasions between September 1999 and August.

Police said Hagisaki had access to all the copied documents, many of which were taken from textbooks on tactics written to educate young SDF officials who are expected to take senior positions. Some of the leaked material was copied from a reference book on the future of the SDF’s communication system.

Hagisaki was wined and dined in return for handing over the classified documents, and he is also suspected of receiving about 580,000 yen in cash, police said.

On the evening of Sept. 7, police officers asked Hagisaki and Bogatenkov, who were meeting at a restaurant in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, to voluntarily accompany them to a police station for questioning. Bogatenkov refused, citing diplomatic immunity, while Hagisaki complied. Bogatenkov left Japan on Sept. 9.

Ministry feels regret

The Foreign Ministry on Friday reiterated its regret over a Russian diplomat’s alleged involvement in the leaking of Japan’s defense secrets, following an indictment of a Maritime Self-Defense Force officer earlier in the day.

Kazuhiko Togo, director general of the European and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, expressed “grave regrets” for the military attache’s action to Russian Ambassador to Japan Alexandre Panov at the Foreign Ministry on Friday afternoon, ministry officials said.

“The indictment supports the fact that the Russian attache took an inappropriate action as a diplomat,” Togo was quoted as telling Panov.

Panov replied that labeling the action as “inappropriate” could not be accepted because the case’s trail has not started yet, the officials said.

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