Testifying as a sworn witness in the Diet, former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya admitted that an extraordinarily close relationship existed between him and a former executive of defense equipment trader Yamada Corp. But he denied any wrongdoing that may bring a criminal charge against him. Mr. Moriya managed to tide over questions in the Lower House special committee on antiterrorism affairs. But unless the Defense Ministry cleans house, it will not only lose people’s trust but also harm the morale of rank-and-file members of the Self-Defense Forces.

Mr. Moriya said he had played golf more than 200 times with the executive, Mr. Motonobu Miyazaki, over the past 12 years, with the latter footing Mr. Moriya’s bills and, in most cases, his wife’s golfing fees and their dining expenses as well. This clearly violates ethical guidelines for SDF members, which Mr. Moriya himself helped to write as director of the then Defense Agency’s secretariat. It is a serious matter when a person having such a special relationship with a defense contractor serves as the top defense bureaucrat for more than four years.

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