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Document Revealing Secret Meeting to Overturn the "Unconstitutional" Ruling of US Military Bases in Japan 1959年 在日米軍違憲判決を覆した日米密議


Did you know that back in 1959, US military bases in Japan were deemed unconstitutional at Tokyo District Court? Two days after the ruling, then US ambassador and Japan's Foreign Minister had a secret meeting and Tokyo appealed at the Supreme Court, which overturned the district court's decision. That was right before the 1960 renewal of AMPO, Japan-US Security Treaty. In the 50th anniversary of AMPO, government is only talking about "deepening" of the bilateral military alliance. We citizens need to go back to the 1959 ruling and question the constitutionality of the US bases before we celebrate this Treaty based on such a deceitful political intervention with court by the two governments.

Documents confirm 1959 Japan-U.S. secret meeting over court case

Mainichi Newspaper on April 3, 2010

In a drastic turnaround, the Foreign Ministry has acknowledged the existence of documents on a secret meeting between Japan and the United States following a 1959 court decision that ruled the U.S. military's presence in Japan unconstitutional.

The ministry disclosed the documents to one of the former defendants in the so-called Sunagawa Case, in which anti-base demonstrators accused of trespassing on a U.S. military base in western Tokyo were acquitted after a court ruled the base unconstitutional. The decision was later overturned by the Supreme Court and the defendants convicted.

Shortly after the initial ruling, the then U.S. ambassador to Japan met with the Japanese foreign minister and the Supreme Court chief justice, but the Foreign Ministry had denied there were any documents left regarding the meetings.

The latest revelation underscores the ministry's reluctance to comply with the principle of information disclosure, following a recent finding that the ministry may have discarded some of the important documents related to secret pacts made between Japan and the United States during the Cold War.

The documents related to the secret bilateral meeting over the Sunagawa Case were disclosed on Friday evening to Shigeru Sakata, 80, a resident of Kawasaki, who along with 40 supporters had filed a request for their disclosure following the change of regime in September last year.

"We need to scrutinize the content (of the documents), but it's a step forward," said Sakata.

Sakata is among the former defendants accused of trespassing on a U.S. military base in Tachikawa, Tokyo, while they staged a protest against the base's expansion in July 1957. Out of the 23 demonstrators who were arrested in September the same year seven were indicted, but all were acquitted by the Tokyo District Court in March 1959 after the court ruled the U.S military's presence unconstitutional. However, prosecutors appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which overturned the lower court decision in December 1959.

Since the Supreme Court decision came shortly before the January 1960 revision to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, suspicions were raised that Tokyo and Washington rushed to settle the case by annulling the lower court decision ahead of the bilateral security arrangement amendments.

In April 2008, it emerged through U.S. official documents that then U.S. Ambassador to Japan Douglas MacArthur II met with Japanese Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama over the district court ruling and urged Tokyo to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. The U.S. documents also revealed that MacArthur discussed the timetable of the appeals hearing with then Supreme Court chief justice Kotaro Tanaka.

Sakata and others filed a request for the disclosure of information over the issue in March last year, but the Justice Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet Office and the Supreme Court all replied by May last year that there were no documents regarding the meetings with the U.S. ambassador.

Following the change of government in September last year, the petitioners once again filed a request for information disclosure in October, after Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada ordered a survey into Japan-U.S. secret pacts on the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan and other issues. Although the Justice Ministry, the Cabinet Office and the Supreme Court insisted on nondisclosure in November, the Foreign Ministry pledged to "continue to investigate the case" while saying they "could not identify the documents at this moment" in its reply on Dec. 25.

The documents that were disclosed to Sakata on Friday evening came in 34 pages, handwritten and sealed as "confidential," and are titled "minutes from a meeting between Minister Fujiyama and the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo." The meeting took place in April 1959, only two days after the Tokyo District Court ruling. Lawyers and others from a group supporting Sakata will analyze the details of the documents.

Gentaro Tsuchiya, 75, a resident of Shizuoka and another former defendant of the Sunagawa Case, said: "Due to the heightened public attention on the bilateral secret pacts issue, the Foreign Ministry may have had no choice but to give serious consideration (to the disclosure of the documents)."

砂川事件判決:日米密談の文書存在 外務省が一転開示

毎日新聞 2010年4月3日










1957年7月 米軍立川基地にデモ隊が立ち入る

   9月 23人が刑事特別法違反容疑で逮捕。後に7人が同罪で起訴

 59年3月 東京地裁が「米軍駐留は違憲」として7人に無罪判決(伊達判決)

   4月 検察側が最高裁に跳躍上告

   12月 最高裁、1審を破棄、差し戻しを命じる

 60年1月 日米安保条約改定

 61年3月 東京地裁、7人に罰金2000円の判決

 63年12月 最高裁、上告棄却を決定。有罪確定

2008年4月 59年の最高裁判決の前に駐日米大使と最高裁長官が密談していたことが米側公文書で判明

 09年3月 元被告らが日本側の記録開示を4機関に請求。5月までに「文書不存在」として不開示

   10月 元被告らが再度、4機関に開示請求

   11月 内閣府など3機関が同様理由で不開示

 10年3月 外務省が開示と通知

1 comment:

俊宇俊宇 said...