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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 April 27 - May 10  > More than 500 citizens sue gov’t over war laws
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2016 April 27 - May 10 TOP3 [POLITICS]

More than 500 citizens sue gov’t over war laws

April 27, 2016
Claiming that the national security-related legislation is unconstitutional, 509 citizens on April 26 filed lawsuits against the central government with the Tokyo District Court. This is the first legal action over the war laws.

The plaintiffs include survivors of the Pacific War, residents living in the vicinity of military bases, workers in aviation/shipping/railroad industries, people from religious groups, people involved in the Self-Defense Forces, and nuclear plant workers. The number of lawyers joining in the plaintiffs’ counsel totals 621.

Their suits include: one seeking an injunction against the SDF overseas dispatch under the controversial legislation; and another seeking state compensation for violation of the people’s right to live in peace due to the potential danger associated with the possible participation of the SDF in foreign wars.

After filing the two cases, lawyer Terai Kazuhiro announced at a press conference that they are also planning to file similar lawsuits with 15 district courts across the nation, and that about 2,000 residents have already submitted their names as plaintiffs in the planned lawsuits.

Terai said, “The security legislation clearly violates the Constitution. If judges kept sitting on the bench just watching, Japan’s constitutionalism would completely collapse. As part of the growing public movements to protect peace, we will hold on to our fundamentals working to defend the Constitution in court.”

Constitutional scholar Shida Yoko, a private university professor, said, “In the face of new constitutional interpretations which drastically differ from the conventional one, many teaching staff are finding it difficult to teach their students about the Constitution. In a way, many of us cannot perform our duty of conveying the essence of the Constitution. This poses a psychological stress for us.”
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