Transport minister Nobuteru Ishihara said Friday he would not comply with a request by Haruho Fujii for exemption from the public servant’s oath to keep official secrets.
Fujii was dismissed by Ishihara as Japan Highway Public Corp. president earlier the same day.
The request was made earlier this week, when Fujii’s attorneys sent a letter to Ishihara, asking whether Fujii could reveal unspecified information he had obtained while serving at the former Construction Ministry.
The functions of the latter are now carried out by the land, infrastructure and transport ministry.
Fujii was administrative vice construction minister before he joined the semigovernmental expressway firm.
Article 100 of the National Civil Service Law binds public servants to secrecy concerning all information they have obtained in the course of their careers.
It applies even after these individuals have retired — unless they are permitted by the heads of relevant authorities to reveal such information.
“(The attorneys) seem to be under the false impression that (Fujii) can reveal secret information as long as I permit (him) to do so,” Ishihara told a news conference.
Citing Clause 2 of the article, Ishihara said exemption from the public servants’ oath is limited to circumstances in which public servants are summoned to court to testify on matters related to illegal activities.
“But there is absolutely no room for (for the provision) to be applied to the matter in question,” Ishihara said.
Fujii’s attorney did not clarify what Fujii had in mind in submitting the request to Ishihara. Ishihara has claimed that Fujii tried to blackmail him during a meeting on Oct. 5, mentioning the initials of several lawmakers whom Fujii said had been involved in shady land deals while he was a Construction Ministry bureaucrat.
Ishihara reiterated Friday that he has no concrete knowledge on the information in Fujii’s possession, stating that only Fujii knows whether or not the matter should be subjected to the duty of confidentiality.
“Fujii must judge by himself how to deal with the issue,” Ishihara said. “If something suspicious comes to light, I’d deal strictly with the matter.”
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.