Japan ready to exchange radar records with South Korea over maritime lock-on incident


Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya on Tuesday showed readiness to exchange records with the South Korean military, with the aim of breaking the impasse over the Dec. 20 radar lock-on incident.

“In order to deepen discussions with South Korea it would be possible for the two sides to exchange classified records, depending on the development of our talks,” Iwaya told a news conference.

The comment suggests that Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force is ready to present its records of radar wave interception to the South Korean side in exchange for information from Seoul, during bilateral working-level talks on Tokyo’s claim that a South Korean destroyer directed its fire-control radar at an MSDF patrol plane.

But Iwaya said that such Japanese records would not be released to the public, saying, “the extent to which a country can collect and analyze radio waves is an important defense secret.”

The minister also commented on a recently released South Korean video aimed at rebutting the radar lock-on allegation.

“In the past, the MSDF has taken photographs of South Korean warships, just like this time, but the South Korean side has never issued a warning or lodged a protest — let alone aiming fire-control radar,” Iwaya said, asserting the legitimacy of Japan’s claim.

Ministry officials said distinct patterns indicating exposure to strong radar waves show up in radar interception records when fire-control radar waves are received.

As each radar system has unique characteristics, it is possible to identify what kind of radar was used, according to the officials.

The ministry has already confirmed that radar data recorded in the latest incident matches records held by Japan for a South Korean military radar system.