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A panel consisting of the chief Cabinet secretary, the defense minister and experts has started discussions on reform of the Defense Ministry. It is to issue an interim report in February. Its establishment was preceded by two serious incidents: the Nov. 28 arrest of former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya on suspicion of receiving bribes from a defense equipment trader, and the earlier revelation of a defense official’s failure to notify his superiors about an inaccuracy in a report on the amount of fuel the Maritime Self-Defense Force had supplied to a U.S. Navy tanker in the Indian Ocean.

The latter case raises the question of whether civilian control is working in the ministry and whether organizational discipline is strict. The government announced in May 2003 that the amount was 760,000 liters even though the official was aware that the correct amount was 3.04 million liters. The government corrected the announcement in September 2007.

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