Government will not appeal against the ruling on the death of SDF member from Okinawa

Government will not appeal against the ruling on the death of SDF member from Okinawa

The time line of the lawsuit.

April 13, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

The plaintiffs won approximately 65 million yen in a lawsuit concerning the death of 20 year-old Okinawan Eikichi Shimabukuro, a private first-class in the Self Defense Force, who was killed in 2006 in hand-to-hand combat training at Camp Makomanai in Sapporo, Hokkaido. The Japanese government accepted the ruling of the Sapporo District Court and decided not to appeal.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera announced the decision in a press conference held after the cabinet council on April 12.

Onodera said, “We decided not to appeal because after careful consideration we thought it was hard to find grounds of appeal.” Onodera went on to say, “Considering the fact that the precious life of a Self Defense Force member was lost, we now want to prevent the same kind of accident from occurring again.”

According to the ruling handed down on March 29, the instructor threw Shimabukuro in hand-to-hand combat training with a sergeant and a corporal. Shimabukuro hit his head hard on the ground, and died of traumatic head injuries the following day.

The ruling acknowledged the instructor’s culpability, saying, “The instructor threw Shimabukuro, who was at a lower level of the scale in terms of his ability to cope with the throw, despite being aware of the risk that Shimabukuro could hit his head on the ground.”

The plaintiffs, Shimabukuro’s parents, claimed about 92 million yen in compensation from the government.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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