SDF rapped for monitoring activists

Kyodo

The Sendai District Court ordered the government to pay a combined ¥300,000 in damages to five people after finding that the Self-Defense Forces Intelligence Security Command violated their personal rights during its monitoring of public rallies against the SDF dispatch to Iraq.

In the lawsuit, 107 people from Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima prefectures argued the SDF unit illegally collected personal information on rally participants.

They demanded the government pay them each ¥1 million for violating their constitutional rights of freedom of expression and conscience.

Accepting part of their argument, presiding Judge Ichiro Hata said, “It was illegal for the SDF unit to collect personal information (on the protesters), including their names, as it infringed on their personal rights.”

However, the court turned down the plaintiffs’ demand to issue an injunction against the monitoring.

The Japanese Communist Party revealed in 2007 what it claimed were internal SDF documents that carried photos of the rallies and the participants while monitoring local politicians who called for resolutions against the SDF dispatch to Iraq.

The government declined to say if the internal documents existed.