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Japan: Ministry Ordered to Declassify Papers
Source: yomiuri.co.jp
Source Date: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Focus: E-Participation, Information Access (and sharing)
Country: Japan
Created: Oct 16, 2012

The Tokyo District Court ordered the Foreign Ministry on Thursday to disclose about 70 percent of classified documents from talks held from 1951 to 1965 that led to the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea.

The court said the ministry's decision to withhold the documents is illegal. It explained the ministry must show it has a good reason, such as a possible threat to national security, to keep official documents classified for more than the set nondisclosure period of 30 years.

The ministry was ordered to fully or partially disclose 268 documents including those related to the Takeshima islands, known as Dokdo in South Korea.

The 268 documents are among 382 pieces of undisclosed information from 348 official documents that 11 plaintiffs, including historical researchers, requested that the ministry disclose in 2006.

As for classified information related to the Takeshima islands, the ministry has claimed the documents contain proposals from the two countries and opinions from officials of a third country, and that its disclosure may put Japan at a disadvantage in future negotiations.
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