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The Governor's Comment on The Supreme Court's Decision

Okinawa Prefecture, Governor Ota Masahide

28th August, 1996

At 3:00 p.m. today, the Grand Bench of the Supreme Court reached a verdict on the case of my refusal to sign the documents on the forced usage of property by the U.S. military. The Court's rejection of the final appeal will have a severe effect on Okinawa Prefecture.

Through this trial, Okinawa Prefecture has presented the historical fact that the land of Okinawan people have been forcefully expropriated for the American military bases and the reality of vast bases concentrating in Okinawa. We appealed that the hindrance of local development caused by the base presence and the recurrent crimes and accidents by the American servicemen and civilian personnel are part of the heavy burden placed by U.S. military bases which violates the human rights of Okinawan people and thus contradicts the principle of the local autonomy.

However, to our great disappointment, the Court dismissed every assertion presented by Okinawa Prefecture.

Although a final judgment has been made on the mandatory duty of signing the document for the forced usage of the land, the situation of Okinawa with the American military bases is still severe. As a person in charge of the local administration supported by the prefectural residents, I will continue to work towards the resolution of base-related problems as a top priority and to protect the people's lives and property.

Hereafter, I will review our legal advisors' detailed reports on the Court's decision and take opinions of the concerning organizations into consideration, before taking further steps.

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