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Video leak culprit did 'the right thing'

Date Posted: 2010-11-18

The Japan Coast Guard navigator who leaked video footage of the September collisions involving a Chinese trawler and Japanese cutters near the Senkaku Islands on the Internet says he did it to show the public what was happening in the country’s southern waters.

The 43-year-old crew member from the patrol ship Uranami, which is based in the Kobe Coast Guard Office, says he did the right thing even though he realized his action might have been impermissible under the rules governing public servants. He and his vessel were not involved in the collisions. "I just wanted as many people as possible to see the events occurring far away in Japan's seas so that each person will think about it, make a judgment and then take action," he said in a statement read out by his lawyer.

Police and prosecutors continued questioning the navigator on a voluntary basis early this week, investigative sources said. Prosecutors expect to have a report that could close the investigation by the end of the week, but have apparently determined an arrest won't be necessary because he is not expected to destroy any evidence or elude prosecution, and because they need more time to examine carefully whether his actions constituted a breach of confidentiality rules. He allegedly violated the National Public Service Law, which prohibits civil servants from divulging secrets obtained in the course of their work. The government withheld the 44-minute video from the public, as it apparently tried to appease Chinese authorities.

The video was posted on YouTube in six clips on Nov. 4 from an Internet cafe in Kobe. One of the clips shows the trawler ram a patrol boat. The footage was provided by the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, to the academy Sept. 17 for analysis of the collision situation, the sources said.The navigator was quoted as telling investigators that a colleague downloaded the video footage from the academy's shared folder onto a personal computer aboard the Uranami in late September and he then saved it on a USB storage device in mid-October.

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