At a meeting in February, Defence Minister Tomomi Inada was said to have given the nod to her top officials to hide the existence of activity logs maintained by ground forces in South Sudan.
The initial claim was that the logs were discarded by the ministry. But Kyodo news yesterday cited sources saying that after digital data of these documents were discovered, the decision was that there was no need to go public as the logs were "maintained by individuals and so need not be treated as official documents".
The controversy started brewing last December after the Defence Ministry declined an information disclosure request for the logs from the media, which had noted the worsening situation in South Sudan since July last year.
Tokyo pulled out its peacekeeping troops, who were mainly involved in infrastructure-building projects, from South Sudan in May. It said this was because its work was done and denied that it was due to the worsening conflict.