• Kyodo

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A senior Self-Defense Forces officer lashed out at an opposition party lawmaker he encountered Monday night outside the Diet, repeatedly saying, “You are an enemy of the people,” according to the lawmaker.

Hiroyuki Konishi of the Democratic Party, had been grilling the Defense Ministry at the Diet recently over its improper handling of activity logs from the SDF mission in Iraq. Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, the top uniformed officer in the SDF, on Tuesday apologized to Konishi.

According to the ministry, the SDF officer in question is a major in his 30s and belongs to the Joint Staff office’s command and communications system department.

The officer told the ministry that he came across Konishi, a House of Councilors member, on the street at around 9 p.m. Monday while he was jogging.

“The case makes me shiver. It is a problem in terms of the civilian control over the SDF,” Konishi said, demanding the resignation of Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Kawano to take responsibility for the encounter.

Yuichiro Tamaki, who heads Kibo no To (Party of Hope), another opposition party, also express concern over the encounter, saying, “It went too far. I cannot help but doubt whether the SDF, the armed forces, are properly controlled.”

Tamaki said he will take up the issue in the Diet, posing a potential new headache for the government, which is already struggling with allegations of cronyism and taking part in a cover-up.

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