Court orders Okinawa to cancel documents disclosure decision in Japanese government lawsuit

Court orders Okinawa to cancel documents disclosure decision in Japanese government lawsuit

A decision was handed down in the lawsuit by the Japanese government demanding the Okinawa prefectural government cancel its decision to disclose agreement documents in a courtroom of Naha District Courthouse around 11 a.m. on March 7 at Naha District Court in Higawa, Naha (Photograph taken by news representative).

March 7, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo 

On the morning of March 7 the Naha District Court handed down a decision in the case concerning the Okinawa prefectural government (OPG) decision to disclose an agreement between the governments of Okinawa, Japan, and the U.S. on the use of prefectural road 70, a joint-use road that stretches through Takae, Higashi Village. Under presiding judge Kenichi Mori the court declared that it was illegal for the OPG to disclose the agreement documents without consent from the U.S. and Japanese governments. As such, the court ordered the OPG to cancel its decision to disclose as the Japanese government demands.

This case was brought before the court in March 2015. Although prefectural road 70 lies on land provided for U.S. military use, based on the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement both governments decided in 1990 to jointly use the road. Local residents opposing the construction of helipads in the Northern Training Area continue to use the shoulder of this road to engage in activities to block construction.

As a method of removing these residents the Okinawa Defense Bureau has been looking to change the road to a zone for exclusive use by the U.S. military. In response, a man opposing helipad construction appealed for the disclosure of documents from the agreement pertaining to prefectural road 70 under an information disclosure ordinance.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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