Tokyo: Japanese prosecutors seized
user records from Google in an investigation into the leak of
a video on YouTube showing a tense maritime incident that
sparked a row with China, reports said.
The move, reported by the public broadcaster NHK and
other Japanese media, came after the government confirmed the
authenticity of the film showing a Chinese fishing trawler
colliding with two Japanese coastguard vessels in disputed
waters in early September.
The footage was taken by the Japanese coastguard
during the incident in the East China Sea and not released to
the public for fear of inflaming the already bitter dispute
with China, but it was uploaded on to YouTube on Friday.
After an in-house investigation, the coastguard on
Monday brought a criminal complaint in Tokyo against an
unknown suspect, citing breaches of the national public
service act and other laws.
Prosecutors will analyse the record of YouTube users`
IP addresses, which should enable them to identify and locate
the computer used to upload the controversial footage, NHK
Japan`s arrest of the Chinese trawler captain sparked
a barrage of protests from Beijing that continued after Japan
released him, sending relations plunging to their lowest point
Google, which owns the video-sharing site, said in a
statement that it would not comment on the media reports.
But a spokesman at Google Japan said in an email to
AFP: "We follow the law like any other company and comply with
valid legal process. When we receive a subpoena or court
order, we check to see if it meets both the letter and spirit
of the law before complying."
Authorities are scrambling to gather information on
who uploaded the video clip on YouTube, requesting security
footage and customers` lists at Internet cafes on southern
Okinawa, the Jiji Press news agency said.
Investigators suspect the person who leaked the video
might have used a computer at an Internet cafe since the data
was posted on YouTube at night, Jiji said.
Yesterday Prime Minister Naoto Kan apologised in
parliament, admitting the government had been "sloppy" in
keeping the video secure.