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Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010

LDP slams ruling bloc over leak

No-confidence motions target ministers to stall budget debate

Staff writers

The Liberal Democratic Party on Monday submitted no-confidence motions in the Diet against two Cabinet ministers, holding them to blame for the leak of a sensitive video of collisions involving a Chinese trawler and two Japan Coast Guard cutters in September off the Senkaku Islands.

The LDP, the main opposition force, separately submitted the motions against transport minister Sumio Mabuchi and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku to the Lower House in a bid to delay the passage of the Democratic Party of Japan-led government's supplementary budget bill.

The motion against Sengoku was voted down by the chamber controlled by the ruling bloc, and the one against Mabuchi was expected to follow later on.

The ¥5.1 trillion extra budget was then set to be pushed through the Lower House late Monday or early Tuesday to fund additional stimulus measures for the economy.

The transport minister oversees the Japan Coast Guard, one of whose ranks downloaded the footage aboard his vessel and posted it online from a Kobe Internet cafe.

The 44 minutes of video footage, uploaded in six parts on YouTube, has sparked public criticism against the government for both keeping the footage, taken from the JCG cutters, from the public and not properly managing data the Cabinet had deemed diplomatically sensitive.

The government refrained from airing the video out of fear of causing further diplomatic friction with China.

Although Sengoku was still hesitant, he softened his stance later in the day, saying the footage may be made public after the investigation is over.

"If (prosecutors decided) not to indict (the coast guardsman), the information may be revealed in the Diet or to the public in general if it works for the common good," Sengoku told a news conference.

If the 43-year-old navigator in the leak is prosecuted, the footage may be disclosed during or after any trial, he said.

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The Japan Times

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