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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 25 - May 8  > Family of woman murdered by US base worker still not compensated
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2018 April 25 - May 8 [US FORCES]

Family of woman murdered by US base worker still not compensated

April 27, 2018
Two years have passed since a Japanese woman was murdered in Okinawa by a U.S. military civilian employee, but the bereaved family of the victim has yet to receive any compensation for the death of their daughter.

In April 2016, a 20-year-old woman living in Okinawa’s Uruma City was killed by Kenneth Shinzato, a former U.S. marine who worked at a U.S. base in Okinawa at that time. The Naha District Court eight months later sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Following the guilty verdict, the bereaved family filed a claim for compensation from Shinzato with the district court. Although the court in January 2018 issued a ruling in support of the plaintiffs’ claim, the Shinzato side refused to pay the money, saying that he is incapable of doing so. In addition, the family has yet to receive anything from the Japanese nor U.S. governments.

Lawyer Arakaki Tsutomu, who works to help victims of U.S. military-related crimes, said that the U.S. military should offer compensation to the family.

Arakaki explained that the U.S. Forces in Japan has a program that provides a solatium to victims of accidents or crimes caused by off-duty U.S. military personnel or civilian workers directly employed by the U.S. military. The Japanese government also has a program that offers extra payments to these victims based on the Special Action Committee on Okinawa agreement when the amount of the money from the U.S. is insufficient.

However, the lawyer went on to explain, the U.S. refuses to apply the solatium program to Shinzato’s case on the grounds that he was employed not by the military but by a U.S. military contractor. As a result, the Japanese government’s program cannot be applied in the case. Arakaki stressed that this situation is unfair and that the U.S. military should offer compensation to the bereaved family.

Arakaki noted that the Japanese government is requesting the U.S. military to expand the program to include cases involving workers indirectly employed by the military.
He said that the Japanese government should fulfil its responsibility in the negotiation with the U.S. in order to protect the rights of U.S. military-related crime victims.

Past related articles:
> Okinawa prosecutor demands life sentence on ex-US marine for rape and murder [November 25, 2017]
> Okinawans protest alleged murder of Japanese woman by ex-US marine [May 21, 2016]

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