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The Defense Ministry on Tuesday punished a senior Self-Defense Forces member for insulting a Diet member on a street while he was off duty, concluding in a report that his act degraded the “dignity” an SDF member should maintain.

The incident has raised doubts about whether civilian control of the SDF is functioning properly, a matter of concern in a country that has bitter memories of its failure to control the military prior to and during World War II. But the ministry denied that the case constituted a breakdown of the system.

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