Coast Guard Officer Faces Criminal Charges for Senkaku Video Leak


Investigators were set to arrest a Kobe Coast Guard Office crew member who reportedly confessed to uploading the video footage of a Chinese trawler ramming Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels near the Senkaku Islands, sources said Wednesday.

A 2nd navigation officer on the patrol boat Uranami apparently told his captain he leaked the footage to the video-sharing site, the sources close to the investigation said. The veteran navigator, 43, holds the patrol ship’s de facto No. 3 position, according to JCG sources.

The Kobe Coast Guard Office belongs to the 5th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters, which is in charge of the coasts of Hyogo (except the Sea of Japan side), Osaka, Shiga, Nara, Wakayama, Tokushima and Kochi prefectures.

The Metropolitan Police Department questioned the crew member Wednesday over possible violations of the National Civil Service Law, which stipulates the obligation to protect classified information.

Meanwhile, the MPD and the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office now believe the videos were posted from a personal computer at a manga cafe in Chuo Ward, Kobe, after Tokyo prosecutors analyzed the Internet protocol address it confiscated from Google Inc.’s Japan unit, which operates YouTube’s Japanese site. Manga cafes, in addition to having comic books and magazines, have individual computers available for browsing the Internet and watching DVDs.

Each computer connected to the Internet has an IP address that combines four numbers from 0 to 225. There are about 4.3 billion possible IP addresses, and by using one it is possible to tell where a computer is located.

The MPD searched the Internet cafe between Tuesday night and early Wednesday, seizing security camera footage and communications records of the shop’s computers.

The JCG regional headquarters and the Kobe JCG office are only about one kilometer away from the manga cafe. According to sources familiar with the shop, it has about 100 computer booths and about 10 security cameras.

Security camera footage from the day the videos were posted was reportedly kept at the shop.

The key question now is how, if he was in fact involved, the senior navigator obtained the video data.

Six videos totaling about 44 minutes were posted on YouTube last Thursday afternoon from an account named “sengoku38.”

The files were deleted by the account holder at about 7:40 a.m. Friday.

Investigation authorities believe the footage was likely leaked from the Ishigaki Coast Guard Office in Okinawa Prefecture, to which the patrol boats the Chinese ship rammed belong. No officials from either the regional headquarters or the Kobe office were sent to aid in the investigation into the collisions, so it is unknown what, if any, relationship there is between the navigation officer and anybody at the Ishigaki office.

It already has been determined that the leaked footage was identical to a version edited and cut by the Ishigaki office immediately after the incident on Sept. 7. This version was submitted on a recordable compact disc to the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office around Sept. 10.

The JCG on Monday filed criminal complaints with Tokyo prosecutors and the MPD of violations of the public servants law and a law prohibiting unauthorized computer access, without specifying any suspects.


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November 2010
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