Okinawans flee their homes during the Battle of Okinawa, an 82-day

battle culminating in June, 1945. Civilian victims of the battle have

sought compensation from the Japanese government for damages

sustained during the confrontation at the hands of Japanese forces.



Battle of Okinawa Victims Deserve Better Treatment from Government (Ryukyu Shimpo Shimbun, Japan)


"Far from protecting residents, the Japanese Army actually slaughtered them and forced them out of their shelters. Can we really ask survivors to 'accept and tolerate' suffering described as the 'nadir of grotesqueness?' ... The plaintiffs have placed their last hopes in this trial, and as the nation's bastion of human rights, the Supreme Court should address their claims head on."




Translated By Violet Knight


October 29, 2012


Japan - Ryukyu Shimpo Shimbun - Original Article (Japanese)

Am American GI off duty during the Battle of Okinawa. About 12,500 American troops and over 100,000 Japanese were killed in the 82-day fight.

WORLD WAR II NEWSREEL: Rare footage of the Battle of Okinawa, the last great battle of WWII, 00:10:01RealVideo

At the first oral proceedings for a trial in which Battle of Okinawa victims have sued the state for damages, the plaintiffs recounted their brutal war experiences with great emotion, and demanded an apology and compensation. In response, the Japanese government called for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that "there is no obligation to accept or deny the claims made by the plaintiffs."


The government has chosen not even to listen to the plaintiffs' claims, who lost relatives or were orphaned. It must be said that it is insincere for the state sought to dismiss the case based on legal arguments alone.


Many civilians were caught up in the fighting during the Battle of Okinawa. This lawsuit is the final appeal of the-now elderly people who have suffered from deep scars all of their lives. To atone for misguided national policies, the state needs to face the plaintiffs with integrity.


The state has asserted the doctrine of "sovereign immunity" and the legal precedent of "accept and endure," by which in times of state of emergency, such as war, citizens should accept damages suffered. Therefore, the government’s position is that the claims have no legal basis.


According to the doctrine of sovereign immunity, while the previous Meiji Constitution was in place [1890-1947] and before laws were passed to allow for civil suits against the government, civilian war victims had no standing to demand compensation for damages caused by state policies.


Even 67 years after the war, Japan continues to overlook civilian war victims. It's no wonder the government has been criticized for abusing human rights through neglect. At the same time, members of the military and civilian personnel have been awarded a total of 52 trillion yen in pensions and compensation.

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It is natural for people to ask whether sovereign immunity is really why civilian damage is the only aspect of wartime state policy that has been left ignored.


In the 2004 compensation trial related to sex slavery during the war, the Niigata District Court rejected sovereign immunity as "contrary to justice or fairness."


The legal precedent of "accept and endure," which is based on a Supreme Court ruling in relation to damages inflicted during air raids, states that "damages resulting from war should be equally accepted and tolerated."


Is this principle appropriate when applied to the Battle of Okinawa, in which so many local citizens became embroiled in a land battle? Far from protecting residents, the Japanese Army actually slaughtered them and forced them out of their shelters. Can we really ask survivors to "accept and tolerate" suffering described as the "nadir of grotesqueness?"


The average age of the 40 plaintiffs is 77, with the oldest aged 91.


The court should examine the details of each war experience recounted by the plaintiffs and ensure that the hearing proceeds with care and attention. The plaintiffs have placed their last hopes in this trial, and as the nation's bastion of human rights, the court should address their claims head on.



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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Nov. 29, 9:19pm]







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