Two Japanese defense attaches in South Korea have returned back to their home country after they were found to have obtained classified military information, a local daily reported Tuesday.
According to Dong-A Ilbo, the Japanese defense attaches obtained 54 classified military documents on information related to North Korea from a former official of the Korea Defense Intelligence Command and 20 documents from a North Korean defector.
Following the prosecution’s indictment of the informants, one Japanese defense attache was declared persona non grata and returned to Japan last year, the daily said. The other defense attache left the country in June after receiving a complaint from the South Korean government.
The two obtained the classified documents from 2013 to 2017 and paid the former military official and the North Korean defector 23.2 million won ($19,700) in total, according to the prosecution.
The level 3 classified information reportedly included locations of weapons storage facilities in North Korea and Pyongyang’s smuggling of items banned under international sanctions, the news outlet reported.
The former military official was sentenced to four years in prison, while the defector, who heads a North Korea-related organization, was given a two-year term suspended for three years, in January.