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'Special secrets' documents increased by 82,000 last year: gov't report

The number of government documents containing information designated as special secrets increased some 82,000 in 2015 from a year earlier, according to a report that the executive branch will submit to the Diet.

    The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 26 approved the report on the executive branch's designation and declassification of special secrets under the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets.

    According to the report, 11 central government organizations had designated 443 pieces of information as special secrets as of the end of 2015. Last year, the government newly designated 61 pieces of information -- including 39 on defense and 14 on diplomacy -- as such.

    A total of 272,020 internal documents contained specially designated secrets as of the end of last year, an increase of 82,827 from the previous year. The Foreign Ministry has the largest number of such documents at 76,816, followed by the Cabinet Secretariat (76,254) and the Defense Ministry (72,325).

    The government conducted aptitude tests last year on bureaucrats to see whether they are suitable for handling specially designated secrets and deemed that 96,200 individuals were deemed qualified to handle such information, and one person unsuitable. Thirty-eight officials refused to take such tests.

    The Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office has withheld which ministry or agency that the disqualified bureaucrat belongs to in order to keep the official's identity confidential.

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