Japan's Defence Minister resigns over data concealment scandal
Tokyo: Japan's Defence Minister Tomomi Inada has stepped down from office on Friday taking responsibility for a data concealment scandal over the country's Self Defence Forces (SDF) mission in South Sudan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has accepted her resignation and will put Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in charge of this post until August 3, when the head of government plans to announce a cabinet reshuffle to tackle its sharp drop in popularity.
Inada, considered a figure very close to Abe for her conservative views, said that she has decided to resign because she has felt "responsible" for the scandal despite an interim committee has determined that she played no role in the case.
Inada's departure coincides with the Defence Ministry's release of the results of its internal probe into the suspected cover-up.
The logs recorded the deteriorating security situation in South Sudan.
The controversy over the logs dated back to December 2016, when the Ministry turned down an information disclosure request for logs covering the Ground Self-Defence Force (GSDF) activities in South Sudan in July 2016, saying they were deleted.
The ministry then backtracked, saying some of the data had been found on a computer in the SDF Joint Staff Office and releasing sections of it.
But top SDF officials reportedly knew at the time that the GSDF actually had the data.