This is not the first time that Japans military has suffered a high-profile security snafu. Last year, for example, the countrys armed forces hit the headlines after sensitive information concerning the U.S.-built Aegis missile system was discovered on a servicemans home PC.
The Aegis incident came at a bad time for Japan, which is attempting to forge closer military ties with the U.S., and resulted in an apology to U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates.
The latest breach has again placed Japans military in the spotlight, and is likely to have prompted yet more frustration within the Pentagon.
A lieutenant colonel in Japans Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) based in the countrys Hyogo Prefecture borrowed the drive containing troop deployment maps in February 2007, according to todays issue of the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.