Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 9 - 15  > Japan’s top court upholds government’s denial of possession of secret documents regarding Okinawa’s reversion
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2014 July 9 - 15 [POLITICS]

Japan’s top court upholds government’s denial of possession of secret documents regarding Okinawa’s reversion

July 15, 2014
In a lawsuit demanding the release of secret documents showing that Tokyo agreed with Washington to shoulder part of the costs associated with the 1972 return of Okinawa to Japan, the Supreme Court on July 14 dismissed the plaintiffs’ demand in line with the government’s argument that denies the existence of the documents.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs, including former Mainichi Shimbun reporter Nishiyama Takichi, urged the state to release documents regarding Japan-U.S. secret agreements which were made before the signing of the bilateral agreement on Okinawa’s reversion in 1971. The documents allegedly include Japan’s promise to pay four million dollars to the U.S. for the restoration of Okinawan land. The Japanese government has denied the existence of any secret deals and secret documents. On the other hand, in the United States, many documents proving the existence of the deals have been coming out one after another.

A decision in the first trial acknowledged that the Foreign and Finance ministries are probably keeping the documents and ordered thorough investigations including testimonies by high-ranking officials. In the second trial, however, a court of appeals decided to reject the plaintiffs’ disclosure demand on the ground of the possibility that the administration secretly disposed those diplomatic documents, while admitting their existence. With the top court decision, this second trial judgment became finalized.

The top of the judicial branch ruled that when authorities refuse citizens’ demand for access to governmental documents due to their absence, the citizens themselves should establish whether such documents exist or not.

At a press conference after the top court ruling, Nishiyama criticized the ruling as a product of the current political environment under which the government is pushing forward with its intention to establish a system to deny public access to state secrets.

Past related articles:
> Secrets protection law could work to hide actual status of Japan-US security treaty: ex-reporter [October 11, 2013]
> High court overturns previous ruling for gov’t to release secret documents on Okinawa reversion [September 30, 2011]
> Court recognizes secret pact on Okinawa’s return [April 10, 2010]
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved