August 16, 2007:
the United States, fearing Japan was unable to keep American technology
secrets, halted the shipment of parts needed to upgrade the Aegis radar in the
Japanese destroyer Kongo. The upgrade would make the Kongo capable of firing
U.S. anti-missile missiles. It all began last March, when it was discovered
that details of the U.S. Aegis naval air defense system have been copied and
passed around a Japanese Navy school (the First Service School in Etajima.)
Japan has always been strict about American military technology it has been
entrusted with. But the current scandal apparently goes back nearly ten years.
In 1998, an instructor at the First Service School prepared a CDROM disk of
instructional material, and put a lot of classified material on it.
That was a major lapse in
security, but no one noticed it. Like most Japanese military schools, the
students assumed that most of what they learned was useful to potential
enemies, and should be kept away from civilians and foreigners. But the CD was
copied again and again, and was even given to some students, who then took it
with them when they left the school.
The security leak was only
discovered when the home of a petty officer, who worked at the school, was
raided. The police were investigating the man's wife, a Chinese woman whose
immigration status was suspect. During the course of the raid, the Aegis CD was
found, someone checked to see if the data on it was classified, and it was.
Things went downhill from there, as it was discovered how long ago the suspect
CD had been created, and how many copies were out there (no one knew for sure.)
Japan is currently trying to
convince the United States to sell it F-22 fighters, which contain even more
valuable military secrets. This week, parts for the Kongo resumed shipping,
after Japan had agreed to American suggestions for improving security of