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GSDF monitoring civic group activities: internal documents.

TOKYO, June 6 Kyodo

The Ground Self-Defense Force intelligence corps has been monitoring citizen groups opposed to its activities such as the dispatch of ground troops to Iraq, according to internal GSDF documents obtained and unveiled by the Japanese Communist Party on Wednesday.

JCP Chairman Kazuo Shii said such monitoring violates the Self-Defense Forces Law and called for an immediate halt to the activities which included surveillance of journalists and religious groups.

''The documents indicate that every single activity of citizens is being monitored and recorded in detail,'' Shii said at a press conference disclosing two internal documents of the GSDF Intelligence Security Corps.

Having studied the documents, the opposition party has determined that the information contained in them is highly credible, he added.

One of the documents covers general surveillance information compiled between January and February 2004, and the other focuses on domestic movements opposed to the dispatch of the SDF to Iraq between November 2003 and February 2004.

With regard to the SDF dispatch to Iraq alone, a total of 293 organizations and individuals, including senior high school students, from 41 prefectures, were subjected to the GSDF surveillance for their street activities. Photographs of some organization members are also attached to the documents.

The documents also include analysis of the activities of journalists and legislative activities by local assemblies.

GSDF troops were deployed in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah to help in reconstruction work from 2003 to July last year, marking Japan's first SDF dispatch overseas to an area of continuing conflict.

The disclosure of the documents comes after the recent revelation of a scandal involving a leak of information connected to the Aegis defense system.

Intelligence security corps were established in the SDF's air, maritime and ground forces in March 2003 to work in conjunction with civilian police to prevent information leaks. They reports directly to the defense minister and has a total of about 900 troops.

Their operations involve gathering information on people trying to contact SDF members and monitoring SDF members' activities and contacts with outside people.

The corps were redirected from their counterintelligence activities to focus on strengthening operations after a series of scandals such as the arrest in September 2000 of an SDF attache at the Japanese Embassy in Moscow for leaking confidential information.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Jun 11, 2007
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