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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 September 28 - October 4  > High court overturns previous ruling for gov’t to release secret documents on Okinawa reversion
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2011 September 28 - October 4 [OKINAWA]

High court overturns previous ruling for gov’t to release secret documents on Okinawa reversion

September 30, 2011
The Tokyo High Court on September 29 nullified a lower court decision ordering the government to release secret documents that show that Japan had taken over the U.S. cost of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972.

Demanding the release of the documents, plaintiffs voiced their anger at the High Court decision.

However, the judge recognized that the foreign ministry and the financial ministry had possessed the secretly-exchanged documents, and that these ministries may have intentionally exempted such documents from the archive and buried them behind closed doors.

The documents which the plaintiffs demanded were: a Yoshino-Sneider discussion record dated June 12, 1971, which shows that Japan had paid four million dollars to restore U.S. military sites to their original state; a Kashiwagi-Julich memorandum dated December 2, 1969, which shows that Japan had made interest-free deposits in the United States; and three other related documents.

The existence of these documents has been confirmed in the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, but the Japanese government argues that there is no such document in Japan.

Writer Sawachi Hisae, one of the plaintiffs, said, “The documents we demand the release of are about Japan-U.S. negotiations for Okinawa’s reversion. It cannot be true that such important materials do not exist.”

Another plaintiff, Nishiyama Takichi, ex-Mainichi Shimbun journalist, said, “If the court connives at nondisclosure of the documents on the grounds that they were destroyed, it would mean the violation of the freedom of access to government information.”

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