Okinawans sue for war redress

Kyodo

Forty Okinawa residents filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking ¥440 million in compensation and an apology from the central government for suffering they or their relatives endured during World War II.

The plaintiffs comprise survivors of and kin of people killed in the massive U.S. air raid on Okinawa Island in October 1944 and nearly three-month Battle of Okinawa that started in April 1945.

The plaintiffs range in age from 60 to 90.

Their lawyers say this is the first time Okinawa war victims have ever filed a damages suit against the central government.

In a written complaint, the plaintiffs say the government should compensate civilian victims equally with soldiers and their relatives, arguing that giving no relief to civilians amounts to violating the constitutional guarantee of equality before the law.

Plaintiffs leader Chieko Nozato, 76, said the suit seeks to hold the state responsible for not offering any apology or compensation to the Okinawa war victims and their surviving relatives.