Defense at Yamashiro’s trial claims Japanese government should face discrimination charges

Defense at Yamashiro’s trial claims Japanese government should face discrimination charges

In the afternoon on December 20, Chairman Hiroji Yamashiro of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center (left) shares words of gratitude with a group of his supporters in Gusukudake Park in Sobe, Naha City.


December 21, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo


The public trial for Okinawa Peace Movement Center Chairman Hiroji Yamashiro and two others was held at Naha District Court on December 20 (Judge Toshihiro Shibata presiding).

The accused are facing charges including forcible obstruction of official business, obstruction of performance of public duty, and inflicting bodily injury.

In their closing statement, the defense claimed that it would be unjust for the court to rule in favor of the prosecution, as this lawsuit it being used to suppress the citizens’ opposition movement to U.S. bases.

Toward the end of the closing statements, Yamashiro said, “The government should face charges for its discriminative policies toward Okinawa.”

The court will pass down its ruling on March 14 next year.


At the trial, the defense explained Okinawa’s history such as Satsuma’s invasion of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Japan’s annexation of the Ryukyu Islands, the Battle of Okinawa and the post-war period.

It pointed out that these events demonstrate the reality of discrimination against Okinawa and the base burden on Okinawa.

In addition, it implored the court to recognize that the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement crushes the Constitution underfoot, and to make a decision based on the principles laid forth in the Constitution.


In regard to the action the defendants took in piling blocks to prevent the hauling of materials being charged as forcible obstruction of official business, the defense claimed that infringing on citizens’ freedom of speech is unconstitutional.

The defense pleaded innocent on all counts with the exception of the property damage charge.


On December 4 the prosecution delivered its closing argument, including in it that the defendants implemented illegal means, which are unjustifiable, in pursuit of their principles.

It recommended that Yamashiro face two years and six months imprisonment and hard labor.


According to the charge sheet, in January 2016 Chairman Yamashiro piled blocks in front of a Camp Schwab gate used for construction in Henoko, Nago City, to obstruct the work hauling in materials.


Before the trial a group of about 180 supporters of Yamashiro’s gathered in Gusukudake Park close to the Naha District Court.

They raised their voices fervently to cheer Yamashiro on in his trial; “Let’s do our best until the very end.”



(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)


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