Taku Yamasaki, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, effectively admitted Wednesday that he instructed the Defense Agency to withhold its full in-house report on how the agency systematically compiled private data on individuals seeking public information.

“It is true that we urged agency officials to use the full report as background data when opposition parties ask questions during Diet deliberation,” Yamasaki said.

He made the remark during a press briefing also attended by the secretaries general of New Komeito and the New Conservative Party.

Yamasaki, however, said that he and other members of the ruling coalition parties were merely offering opinions rather than giving orders.

He blamed Defense Agency chief Gen Nakatani for the confusion caused by his release of the internal report on Tuesday.

The confusion began early in the afternoon, when senior members of the triumvirate reportedly ordered Defense Agency officials to release a four-page summary of the issue, instead of the more than 40-page report it originally compiled.

The Defense Agency later released the full document after reporters criticized the summary for lacking depth.

Yamasaki also admitted that the politicians tried to change the wording of the report.

The passage in question says the agency’s actions “may naturally be considered as an attempt to cover up the existence of the lists.”

“We told the Defense Agency to clarify the wording so as not to cause a misunderstanding with the public,” Yamasaki said.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who was also at the briefing, repeatedly said he instructed the Defense Agency to thoroughly investigate the matter and explain it to the public.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda criticized the agency’s handling of the matter as “insufficient” and said it should have released a full report in the first place.

Meanwhile, the four opposition parties agreed to request an investigation by a third party, saying the Defense Agency’s report is suspicious.

They agreed to boycott Diet deliberations until the government and the ruling parties release the truth and punish those responsible.

“I want the government to draw up a report that is not distorted by the ruling camp and the Defense Agency,” said Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, during a one-on-one debate with Koizumi.

Social Democratic Party leader Takako Doi criticized senior members of the ruling camp, accusing them of merely attempting to dump responsibility for the matter on the Defense Agency.

The tripartite coalition, however, refused to reinvestigate the case and hinted it would proceed with Diet deliberations regardless of the boycott threat.

But the secretaries general said they are prepared to answer the opposition’s questions if they want to know the details of what happened Tuesday.

Diet boycott planned

Four opposition parties decided Wednesday to boycott all Diet debates to protest the delayed release of a report on the Defense Agency’s compilation of lists featuring personal data on people who had made information disclosure requests.

The chiefs of the Diet affairs committees of the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Party, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party will begin their boycott Thursday.

The decision was approved at a meeting of the parties’ secretaries general.

The report, which was supposed to be released Tuesday morning, didn’t come until late that afternoon, after pressure had mounted on the agency.

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