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Defense Agency head Gen Nakatani said Friday he is taking full responsibility for the turmoil in the Diet following the suspected attempt by senior ruling party members to withhold a report of a probe into the information disclosure scandal.

“It is free for anybody to give their opinions, but I evaluate them and make decisions,” the top defense official told a news conference.

Nakatani made the remarks in defending Taku Yamasaki, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, who is believed to have pressured agency officials into not making the full report of the in-house agency probe public on Tuesday. A summary was all that was initially released.

“I am ready to hear criticism but I made the best decision I could make at that moment,” Nakatani said.

He said the agency is trying to confirm what exactly happened that day and will take disciplinary measures against those responsible for the confusion over the report.

The agency is also considering action against officials who compiled the list at the center of the scandal. The list allegedly contains irrelevant personal data on people who requested information disclosure from the agency and the Self-Defense Forces.

The Defense Agency withheld release of the full 38-page report of the probe after receiving complaints from leading ruling party members earlier on Tuesday. The agency later released the report after receiving criticism from opposition members and reporters, who knew that a longer account existed.

Four opposition parties, protesting the ruling camp’s explanation over the incident, began a boycott of Diet deliberations Thursday.

Nakatani said he initially planned to release the full report but decided to brief reporters with a four-page summary because he thought it would help the public understand the issue “easily and accurately.”

He said the suspected pressure exerted on the agency by the ruling coalition members raises “the question of the relationship between politicians and bureaucrats,” adding that he is ready to discuss the issue in the Diet.

Yasuo Ito, administrative vice minister of the agency, said Thursday he took it as customary practice that agency officials explain to key ruling coalition members the result of the in-house probe before making it public.

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