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JAPAN’S military officers lost intelligence from a joint drill with United States, the defence minister admitted today, in the country’s latest mishap over sensitive information.

Two military officers lost a flash memory device carrying data on the exercise, which took place in mid February 2007 at a drill field in Itami in western Japan; Shigeru Ishiba told a news conference.

A captain later found the device but accidentally threw it away in a garbage bin, Mr Ishiba said.

He said all three were reprimanded, with the captain relieved of duty for one month.

Mr Ishiba said the defence ministry did not intend to cover up the incident but declined to give details on what was on the chip.

"We refrained from asking for a probe by a third party out of concern about further leakage of information,” Mr Ishiba said.

The Mainichi Shimbun reported that the data in the flash memory devise was categorized as “careful” in handling – meaning it is sensitive but not to the level that the people involved would be subject to criminal penalties.

In December, Japanese police arrested a senior navy officer over the leak of secret data on the high-tech Aegis combat system, seen as a top line of defence against a possible attack by North Korea.

Another military officer was also reprimanded last year over leakage of information through file swapping software installed on his private personal computer.

US officials have cited the incidents to explain Washington’s refusal to sell to Japan, a close US ally, state-of-art F-22 Raptors. US law prohibits the export to any country of the F-22, which is designed to evade radar detection at supersonic speeds.


- Adelaide Now. July 1,2008


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arrow According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, more than 350 data loss incidents involving more than 140 million records have occurred since February 2005

arrow Organisations are obliged by law to take take adequate steps to ensure the proper disposal of data

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