U.S. government to provide compensation payment to taxi driver robbed and injured by military servicemen

November 29, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

Two U.S. military servicemen received prison sentences for robbing and injuring a taxi driver in Okinawa City in 2006. The U.S. government did not provide compensation to the victim for over four years. At first, they said that could not pay the victim if he removed his statement to the Japanese government claiming an out-of-court settlement. They then changed their stance, telling him on November 28 that they would provide the payment. The U.S. government proposed on October 17 that they would pay him about two million yen. The victim’s side signed the document removing the statement. The U.S. government then told the victim on October 30 that they would not go through with the payment procedures if the document abandoned the right to claim to the Japanese government.

Tsutomu Arakaki, the attorney representing the victim, said the U.S. military in Japan told him through the Okinawa Defense Bureau on November 28 that they would go through with payment. The document does not include the statement abandoning the right to claim to the Japanese government. After the U.S. government pays the victim, the Japanese government will pay the remaining compensation based on the Special Action Committee on Okinawa agreement reached in 1996.

Arakaki said, “Now that the U.S. government will pay, we can say that we managed to settle the case. But even so, it is an issue that the U.S. government didn’t pay for such a long time and that they made excessive demands upon the victim.”

The Defense Facilities Environs Improvement Association, an affiliated organization of the Ministry of Defense, provided an interest-free loan to the victim on November 21. This came from the relief loan program for those affected by incidents involving U.S. military personnel.

The court ordered the accused to pay 28 million yen in compensation. The organization provided the amount excluding workers accident compensation that the victim had already received. The U.S. and Japanese governments will pay the organization back for the loan.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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