Naha District Court accepts 12 base employees’ claims of baseless punishment and unjust treatment

Naha District Court accepts 12 base employees’ claims of baseless punishment and unjust treatment

The plaintiffs holding a sign that says “Victory” in front of the Naha District Court after the ruling was handed down (July 7, Higawa in Naha)

July 8, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo


On July 7, the Naha District Court announced their decision in the case brought by 12 Japanese staff working on U.S. military bases who claimed they had received undue punishment, including suspension, without factual basis. The plaintiffs sought confirmation from their employer country that the punishment was void. The court ruled that the punishment received by the 12 individuals was void, and ordered that any reduction in compensation or bonuses as a result of that punishment should be paid.


The 11 Kadena Air Base staff members among the plaintiffs had received a seven-day suspension after being accused of being involved in an incident in which air conditioner parts were stolen on the base. In the rationale for the decision, Judge Kazuhiro Yamaguchi indicated that coworkers’ statements that the 11 had been involved in the robbery were unreliable. The opinion of the court was that there was no acceptable evidence that the plaintiffs were involved, and that the case “lacked factual basis for punishment.”

Shuji Ishikawa of Ginowan worked at Camp Zukeran. He attempted to stop an American subordinate from going home, which was taken as disorderly conduct and resulted in a three-day suspension. Judge Yamaguchi explained, “Even if there was a small degree of physical contact, it was unavoidable in order to stop a subordinate from returning home without reason.”

According to the ruling, the case of an air conditioner belonging to the U.S. military being removed from Kadena Air Base and sold was discovered in 2017. The 11 staff members denied any involvement during the military police investigation, but received suspensions in 2019.

In response to inquiries by the Ryukyu Shimpo, a representative of the Okinawa Defense Bureau stated, “We accept that the court did not agree with the state’s argument. We are carefully considering the details of the ruling and will work with related institutions to take appropriate action.”


(English translation by T&CT and Ellen Huntley)


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