Information Requests Reveal Destruction of Records by Administrative Agencies in Japan

10 December 2004

Information Clearinghouse Japan, a non-profit organization, conducted an investigation based on information requests filed under the Japanese public information disclosure law regarding the destruction of official records before that law came into effect in March 2001. The records showed that at least ten agencies significantly increased their disposal of documents during fiscal year 2000, some by as much as 20 percent. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) increased its disposal volume during that period by more than twenty times: in fiscal 1999, MAFF destroyed only 11 tons of documents, compared to 233 tons in fiscal 2000. Government officials claimed that the widespread disposal occurred in expectation of the consolidation of some government ministries and the changes in records management rules. [SOURCE: K. Tsuruoka, “Leap in records scrapped prior to FOI,” Yomiuri Shinbun, Dec. 9, 2004.]

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