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Anti-war activists found guilty for distributing flyers at SDF personnel apartment complex

Reversing a lower court decision, the Tokyo High Court on December 9 found three anti-war activists guilty for distributing fliers in Self-Defense Forces housing units in the Tokyo suburban city of Tachikawa and ordered them to pay a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 yen on the charge of trespassing on the Self-Defense Forces housing compound.

The high court totally rejected the Tokyo District Court decision that flyer distribution is constitutional and that the three activists had the right to exercise the freedom of political expression as a fundamental element of democratic society,

The presiding judge of the Tokyo High Court said that it is unacceptable to enter the SDF housing compound with its "No Entry" sign put up by the housing units' keeper. The judge made no mention of their arrest by the Public Safety Bureau (security police), which the district court had ruled as violation of the freedom of expression.

The defendants on the same day appealed the case to a higher court, stating, "Flyer distribution is an important means of communication for political and civil activities. What's obvious in this case is that the opinion critical of the government was suppressed."

The People's Aid and Relief Association of Japan issued a statement criticizing the high court decision for avoiding judging the case based on the Constitution and for accepting police suppression of expression and speech critical of the government.
- Akahata, December 10, 2005

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