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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 August 20 - 26  > Government ordered to compensate for SDF sailor’s suicide
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2008 August 20 - 26 [SDF]

Government ordered to compensate for SDF sailor’s suicide

August 26, 2008
The Fukuoka High Court on August 25 overturned a lower court decision to order the government to pay 3.5 million yen to the parents for the death of their son. It said that the son, who was a Maritime Self-Defense Force sailor, committed suicide as the result of being bullied by his superior officers.

This is the first court ruling to hold the SDF responsible for a SDF member’s suicide.

In 1999, a 21-year-old petty officer third class killed himself on the escort ship “Sawagiri” based at the MSDF Sasebo Base in Nagasaki Prefecture.

The court ruled that insulting remarks and actions by an officer resulted in the sailor’s suicide, pointing out that the superior failed to take into account the safety of SDF members.

About 100 SDF members commit suicide each year. Two other similar cases are pending in district courts in Yokohama and Shizuoka.

As part of preparations for overseas missions with U.S. forces, the SDF is transforming itself to become capable of waging war, and vigorously training its members to be strong enough to fulfill their tasks.

Several former SDF officers have pointed out relations between bullying cases in the SDF and the move to enable the SDF to be dispatched abroad.
- Akahata, August 26, 2008
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