Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tokyo police sued over illegal use of taxpayer funds for providing security at Okinawa helipad sites

A group of 183 Tokyo residents filed a damages suit Tuesday over the dispatch of Tokyo police mobile unit personnel for security around the construction sites for U.S. military helipads in Okinawa.

Claiming the dispatch involves illegal use of taxpayer money, the group seeks ¥280 million in damages in the lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department’s superintendent general and others filed with the Tokyo District Court.
Besides the Tokyo police, the central government’s National Police Agency and the Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Osaka and Fukuoka prefectural police forces are also sending personnel for security there. The Tokyo group said residents of the prefectures have started moves to request audits on the matter.

In a petition, the plaintiffs said the helipad construction is illegal because it is being carried out without an agreement with local residents.
The Tokyo police are sending personnel in order to suppress opposing residents, in accordance with NPA policy, the group said.
The group demanded that the current and former superintendents general cover the pay of the Tokyo police personnel sent there since the dispatch began in July.
“The duties of the Tokyo police mobile unit are to protect residents of the Japanese capital,” plaintiff Hatsuko Aoki, 69, from Okinawa, said. “But they go to Okinawa at the expense of Tokyo taxpayers and suppress local residents.”
The U.S. military is set to return about a half of the Marine Corps Camp Gonsalves training area in northern Okinawa Island on condition that helipads in the section that will be given back are relocated elsewhere in the training area. The construction of substitute helipads is drawing local protests.

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