The homes of several serving members of Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and a destroyer were raided as part of an investigation into a leak of sensitive military data from a computer, Japan's Kyodo News reported Tuesday.
Officers from the Kanagawa prefectural police force and the JMSDF's own criminal investigations unit are investigating the leak of information related to the Aegis missile defense system, the sea-based Standard Missile-3 interceptor system and the reconnaissance satellite data exchange Link 16 system.
The Aegis leak first came to light in March this year when police were conducting an immigration-related investigation into the Chinese wife of a JMSDF officer. During the search they came across the data, which included the radar and transmission frequencies of the Aegis system. The officer wasn't authorized to be in possession of the data so the investigation was begun.
He apparently came into possession of the data while swapping pornography with another JMSDF officer, according to a previous report in the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.
The issue has proved embarrassing for Japan, which is a close ally of the U.S.
Japan's Defense Minister apologized to his U.S. counterpart during a visit to Washington, D.C., earlier this year and in June during a speech in Tokyo Lieutenant General Bruce Wright, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, called the leak "a very serious security problem."
It's also come at a bad time. Japan is pushing Washington to allow it access to technical details of the F22A Raptor, one of the most technically advanced jets in the U.S. fleet, as part of its evaluation of the jet ahead of a possible purchase. The U.S. has to date not accepted the request.
Data security at Japanese military and government institutions has been in the spotlight in the last year. The rapid spread of viruses on file sharing networks has served to highlight that many employees and service personnel run file sharing software on official computers. The viruses have caused sensitive documents to be published and shared with data inevitably ending up on the Web.