SEOUL – A South Korean intelligence officer posted to Seoul’s embassy in Tokyo was fired for allegedly leaking “secret” information to the Japan Coast Guard and Japanese reporters, according to South Korean media reports.
The officer, who allegedly leaked eight items of confidential information during his 2009-2011 posting, has denied wrongdoing and filed a wrongful dismissal lawsuit, saying the information didn’t meet the threshold of a state secret, the Chosun Ilbo paper and other media reported.
They said that among the areas under the intelligence officer’s responsibility at the embassy was keeping an eye on the activities of the pro-Pyongyang group Chongryon (General Association of Korean Residents in Japan).
In October 2009, the officer briefed a Japan Coast Guard official on the itinerary of a trip to Japan by Hwang Jang Yop, a former secretary of North Korea’s ruling party who defected to South Korea in 1997. This information was subsequently leaked to a North Korean intelligence officer in Malaysia by way of a Japanese television reporter.
Another incident involved the July 2010 visit to Japan by Kim Hyong Hui, an ex-North Korean agent convicted of the bombing of a Korea Air jetliner in the 1980. The intelligence officer allegedly told a Japanese reporter that Kim had information about Pyongyang abductee Yaeko Taguchi to an aide of Hiroshi Nakai, minister handling the abduction issue.
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