On December 7, 1995, the Prime Minister of Japan brought a suit
against Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota for refusing to sign the document for
the forced usage of property by the U.S. Military. The Naha Branch of Fukuoka
High Court reached a verdict in favor of the central government on March 25,
1996 and ordered the governor to sign the document.
So, today, at 2:30 p.m., I filed an appeal to the Naha Branch of Fukuoka High Court for I found the verdict reached on March 25, 1996 ordering me to sign the lease for land occupied by the U.S. Military.
This trial is crucial for the future of Okinawa not only because it concerns the problem of the forced usage of property by the military but it also questions constitutional issues such as the relationship between the true aim of local autonomy and functions delegated to local executive organs by the central government, the right to peaceful existence, individual property rights and the principle of equality.
Okinawa Prefecture emphasized that the damage and burden caused by the presence of bases violate the fundamental human rights of Okinawan people and prevent the establishment of local autonomy. The fact that the Okinawan people have been forced to lease their land to the U.S. Military for 50 years since the end of the Pacific War is a violation of property rights, and the huge and dense U.S. Military presence in Okinawa is against the principle of equality. Moreover, the live artillery firing exercises and other various military exercises are destroying the natural and living environment, and the recurrent incidents and accidents caused by American military personnel threaten the right of local people to live in peace.
But, the court failed to give a fair assessment. In reaching its verdict, the court relegated the questions of constitutionality and local autonomy presented by the prefecture to the background.
The verdict fails to give consideration to Okinawa's past and present suffering caused by the enormous U.S. Military presence, nor does it offer any prospects for a resolution of the U.S. base problems in the future.
After consulting with legal advisors, Okinawa Prefecture has decided to make an appeal to the Supreme Court on the issues stated above.
April 1, 1996
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