War victims in South Sea Islands file lawsuit against government
August 15, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo
War victims in what were formerly as known the Nanyo Gunto (South Sea Islands) during World War II filed a lawsuit with the Naha District Court on August 15. They have sought an apology and damages of 11 million yen per person from the government .The plaintiffs are Okinawan people who were involved in the war and bereaved families. Twenty-four plaintiffs range in age from 67 years old to 101 years old. According to the Okinawa War Victim Group, it is the first time that victims in the former Nanyo Gunto have questioned the government’s responsibility for the war damages.
Seven plaintiffs also joined in the lawsuit to seek an apology and compensation from the government for civilian casualties in the Battle of Okinawa. They filed a lawsuit with the Naha District Court on August 15.
Many plaintiffs took part in the gathering held before they filed the lawsuit. Shigeru Zukeyama, the lead attorney of the War Victim Group said, “The war isn’t over yet in Okinawa where the U.S. is still strengthening its military bases. In seeking an apology and compensation from the government, we would like to reveal the realities of the war and to clarify the damage that occurred in the South Sea Islands.” The lawyer called for the unity among the plaintiffs.
Mitsuo Ara, 75, who is from Palau and lost his brother and sister there, said, “I’ve felt grief and sorrow since their deaths, but I would not act like this if I were alone. Through the lawsuit, I want to let people know about their pain and sufferings of the people who died.” During the war, at least 35,000 Okinawan people died in the Philippines and the South Sea Islands.
(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)
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