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HEADQUARTERS MILITARY GOVERNMENT OF THE RYUKYU ISLANDS

APO 719

SPECIAL PROCLAMATION NO. 36

CERTIFICATION OF LAND TITLE

14th April 1950


TO THE PEOPLE OF OKINAWA GUNTO

WHEREAS, during the course of the past three years, claim of land owners on Okinawa have been submitted to Aza Land Claims Committees, as required by Military Government Directive No. 121, dated 28 February 1946, subject: "Land Claims, Preparation of Data Concerning," and

WHEREAS the sonchos have appointed an arbitral committee of five members In each mura and aza who have heard disputes for the purpose of determining valid claims, and

WHEREAS the sonchos of each mura have reported to the Okinawa Civilian Administration that the filing of land claims and hearing of disputes is sufficiently complete to proceed with the issuance of certificates evidencing title to land;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, J. R. SHEETZ, Major General, United States Army, Military Governor of the Ryukyu Islands, desiring to encourage and assist in the determination and certification of land title and to sponsor the administration of justice In the settlement of all problems relating to the use and ownership of land, do hereby proclaim that the people of Okinawa shall proceed to completion with the program of determination, certification and registration of title to all land on Okinawa.

ARTICLE I

All declarations of land ownership required to be filed by Military Government Directive No. 121, dated 28 February 1946, shall be filed with the Aza Land Claims Committees on or before 30 June 1950, which date shall be the final date for filing claim with the Mura and Aza Land Claim Committee. Thereafter, claims to land ownership will be prosecuted in the form of legal action in the appropriate district of the Circuit Court.

ARTICLE II

Representatives of the Central Committee for Determination of Land Title established by Military Government Directive No. 1, 1 February 1950, shall examine the files of all Mura Land Claims Committees to determine the accuracy of filing, investigating and mapping of all claims submitted. When the Central Land Claims Committee is satisfied that this work of the Mura Committee has reached standard requirements, it will issue to the Mura Land Claims Committee blank Certificates of Title and instructions to proceed with the certification program.

ARTICLE III

1. Upon receipt of the blank certificates, the Mura Land Claims Committee, with assistance of the Aza Committees, will proceed, with claims not contested, to fill the blank certificate from data contained in the claimant's original claim to ownership and from the claimant's statement concerning the name of the person from whom he or she acquired ownership and date of acquisition. The claimant's original chart describing location of subject property will be transcribed to the certificate, with discrepancies noted. Thereafter the completed certificate of ownership (except for validating signatures) will be placed in a file open to public inspection for a period of thirty (30) days, during which time any opposing claimant shall have the opportunity to file with the Mura Land Claims Committee written notice of claims which he may wish to assert to the same parcel of land. Each Mura Land Claims Committee shall make public in advance, the designated period of notice

2. In the event that more than one claim is filed to any parcel of land, no Certificate of Title will be issued, but all claimants will be notified by the Mura Land Claims Committee of the dispute concerning the title, the names of all claimants involved, and the necessity for bringing action in the appropriate Circuit Court to determine ownership. A copy of this notice to the claimants will be filed in the Land Registry in lieu of a Certificate of Title and will remain in such Registry until a court order determining title has become final, at which time a valid Certificate of Title shall be issued to the true owner as determined by the Court.

ARTICLE IV

1. After public notice and inspection, the certificate, provided it is not opposed nor contested, will be approved, signed and sealed by the soncho of the mura and delivered to the claimant owner,

2. Three notification copies of the original certificate will be prepared. The first copy will be clearly marked across its face “Land Registry Office," the second "Tax Collection Office," the third "Central Land Office," and each will be delivered by the soncho to its respective designated office.

ARTICLE V

Thereupon the signed certificate will be recognized as evidence of legal title, unless a prior or paramount title should be determined subsequently by regular judicial procedure in a court of proper jurisdiction, in which event the title so determined by the Court shall take precedence over the contested certificate issued by the mura soncho.

ARTICLE VI

1. In the event of a contest of validity of title by a person who maintains to have title paramount to the recognized owner of the land, the contestant shall institute an action in the Circuit Court and the true ownership of the land shall be determined by regular court proceedings and issuance of a court order.

2. In such circumstances, the clerk of court in which proceedings are instituted shall transmit written notice to the Land Registry Office, the Tax Collection Office, and the Central Land Office that such action is pending. This notice shall be attached to the Certificate of Title in the files and shall constitute notification to all persons that litigation is pending and that title to such land in in question.

3. The court order in settlement of a title dispute shall state, as a matter of record, the true owner of the land as determined by the Court.

4. If the title currently recognized is invalidated by th final court order, an entry will be made in the land registry, and the Certificate of Title shall be marked "Invalid" with reference to the authority contained in the court order and date. Thereon, a valid certificate of title shall be issued by the Land Registry Office pursuant to said court order.

5. The subject of assessing costs of the proceedings shall be within the discretion of the court.

ARTICLE VII

It shall be the duty of the landowner, upon receipt of a new Certificate of Title to register it in the Land Registry Office.

ARTICLE VIII

In the absence of any claim or assertion of ownership to a particular parcel of land, or in event the owner fails to appear to take delivery of certificate of title, subject land will be placed in custody of the Soncho of the respective area, in trust for the absent owner.

ARTICLE IX

Administration of land in the custody of the Soncho or his appointed representative shall be in accord with the following procedure:

1. All land taken into custody will be reported, within thirty days, to the Central Land Office. Maps of the land will accompany the report.

2. The land will be utilized for the best interest of the owner and the increment therefrom will be protected for his benefit by the Soncho as trustee or administrator.

3. The Soncho, or his appointed representative, shall be accountable as trustee for the owner. He shall collect revenue and make disbursements for taxes, maintenance and improvement of property. Disbursements on any particular parcel of land, however, will not exceed the revenue therefrom, nor will an excess of revenue from one parcel be applied to another parcel, except in payment of taxes. Taxes levied on property producing no income, or insufficient income, will be paid out of the trustee's reserve account of accumulated income; such payments will be in the form of a loan and will be charged to the particular property account. Thereafter, the loan for taxes will constitute a lien against the property until paid by the owner or his successor.

ARTICLE X

1. The Land Registry offices will be reestablished and perform their normal function within the framework of the Government and Legal Department, Okinawa Civilian Administration. They will enter land title records in permanent official books and issue certificates of title in accord with established procedure. The Registries will be located in or near the buildings occupied by the Magistrate Courts.

2. A complete new act of land registration books will be instituted in each Land Registry Office and all certificates of title, issued in the current land title program by the Sonchos of the respective muras, will be registered in their particular Land Registry Offices. Henceforth, a copy of every document which effects a conveyance, transfer, release, encumbrance, or hypothecation of an interest in any parcel of land on Okinawa, or which effects a change in the legal relations in or to any parcel of land on Okinawa, shall within thirty (30) days after its execution, be filed in the appropriate Land Registry Office, which office shall cause notification copies to be forwarded to the Tax Collection Office and the Central Land Office.

ARTICLE XI

There will be established within the Okinawa Civilian Administration a "Central Land Office" which shall maintain a central file of all data pertaining to land in Okinawa Gunto and establish authentic maps indicating land ownership. It shall coordinate the work of the Mura Land Claims Committees and also recommend uniform procedure to be followed by Land Registry Offices. It shall review custody reports of land administered by the various Sonchos, and make recommendations concerning the use and management of land in custody and revenue derived therefrom. Documents issued in procurement of land by government agencies will be channeled through the Central Land Office, which will record the procurement.

ARTICLE XII

The Mura and Aza Land Claims Committees, appointed pursuant to Directive No. 121, 28 February 1946, will complete all of their duties and be deactivated and dismissed 28 February 1951. Owner's original claims to land ownership, bound in convenient volumes, together with maps and other pertinent land data will be transferred to the Central Land Office.

ARTICLE XIII

Any person who knowingly or wilfully accepts a Certificate of Title based on fraudulent assertions, or who wilfully makes any false statement or claim in connection with the issuance of a Certificate of Title, will be subject to a penalty not to exceed yen 50,000 or two years' imprisonment.

Given under my hand this 14th day of April 1950.

(Signed)

J. R. SHEETZ

Major General, United States Army

Military Governor of the Ryukyu Islands



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