Japan police probe online leak of anti-terrorism documents

TOKYO, Nov 4, 2010 (AFP) - Japanese police are investigating the online leak of apparent classified anti-terrorism documents, the government said Thursday, denying it spells a security threat to an Asia-Pacific summit next week.

The more than 100 documents, dated 2004 to 2010 and including data from the FBI, give details on people cooperating with terrorism inquiries and on foreigners who appear to be under investigation in Japan, reports said.

Japan's top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, said at a regular news conference: "It is something that the National Police Agency has been investigating with significant energy."

"I would like to wait for the outcome of the investigation."

Sengoku added that the government was confident the leak, reportedly via file-sharing software, "will not affect the security for APEC", referring to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Japan hosts next week.

The documents include security measures the police took when a Group of Eight summit was held on Hokkaido island in 2008, Kyodo News said.

The bundle of documents apparently comes from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's Public Security Bureau and includes details on Islamic terrorism suspects and on police informants, local media reported.

It appears the leak was not accidental, said the Asahi Shimbun and other major local media, citing police sources and independent information technology experts who analysed the leaked information.

They suspect that someone collected the data, converted it into a PDF for easy public viewing, and published it on the Internet using file-sharing software, media said.

Police have neither confirmed nor denied the news reports.

"If these materials turn out to be internal police documents, the impact would be immeasurable," said the Yomiuri in an English-language editorial. "It cannot be denied the informants could come under threat of physical harm, and it is highly likely they will no longer be willing to cooperate with police.

"In addition, foreign investigative organisations could become unwilling to provide Japan with information on international terrorist organisations out of concern such information may be compromised."

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