• Kyodo

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Yamaguchi Prefectural Police sent papers to prosecutors Monday on a Maritime Self-Defense Force officer suspected of covering up a subordinate’s illegal possession of drugs last fall at an MSDF base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, police sources said.

The 50-year-old lieutenant junior grade is suspected of flushing a 1-gram package of stimulants down a toilet on Oct. 24 after receiving it from Petty Officer 3rd Class Masako Koike, 28, the sources said.

According to the sources, the older officer was technically in illegal possession of the amphetamine on the day as, instead of reporting it to police, he kept the drug in his locker at an MSDF signal corps depot in Yokosuka.

He admitted the allegation, with sources quoting him as saying, “I wanted to protect the squad and dodge punishment.”

He was also quoted as saying he had Koike give him the package of white powder, which was found in her locker by one of her colleagues after she collapsed on duty, and that at the time he believed it was a nutritional supplement.

Koike was arrested April 6 in connection with the investigation of Masaru Inoue, a 29-year-old MSDF leading seaman based at Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on suspicion of illegal use of drugs. She was later indicted on charges of using the drug in December.

Koike was stationed at the Shimonoseki base from January 1998 to June, when she was transferred to Yokosuka. She obtained the amphetamine from Inoue after her transfer, the sources said.

She told police that several other male officers of the Shimonoseki base had used amphetamines, according to the sources.

Although some of the male officers admitted during voluntary questioning that they had used the substance, prefectural police are taking no action against them due to a lack of evidence, the sources said.

Inoue was dismissed from the MSDF and sentenced in April to 18 months in jail, suspended for three years.

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