Local police chief in Japan denies covering up alleged wrongdoing by officer

The chief of prefectural police in southwestern Japan has denied allegations of a cover-up of wrongdoing by an officer.

Nogawa Akiteru of the Kagoshima prefectural police attended a committee meeting at the local prefectural assembly on Tuesday.

He spoke about a case in which former senior officer Honda Takashi was arrested on suspicion of violating the National Public Service Act by sending internal documents to a writer in late March after his retirement.

The documents allegedly contained personal information, including the name of a victim in a stalking case involving an officer.

Nogawa said it is regrettable that Honda, who had been in a position to be a role model, was arrested for allegedly leaking the name of the victim, who does not want it made public, and other information.

Last week, Honda claimed at a court that Nogawa tried to cover up another case of sneak photography by another officer.

At the committee meeting on Tuesday, Nogawa denied the cover-up claim. He said the claim is regrettable, and that he offers an apology for causing concerns among local people.

Assembly members urged Nogawa to clearly explain what actually happened. Some said the series of wrongdoings are unacceptable and called for efforts to clear the department's name.

Others questioned Honda's arrest from a viewpoint of protecting whistleblowers in the public interest.

The prefectural police said so far it cannot decide whether Honda reported the wrongdoings in the public interest as his motives are still under investigation.