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OSAKA — The government asserted in a court reply Oct. 8 that because the Diet has given its approval, it is legal to use public money to cover the costs of stationing U.S. forces in Japan.With its reply, the government asked the Osaka District Court to dismiss a lawsuit lodged by a group of 296 people who say is unconstitutional for Japan to cover costs born by the U.S. military here. The plaintiffs are demanding that the government pay them about 1 million yen for what they claim are damages sustained through a system that uses taxpayers’ money to pay for stationing American troops here.The government said in its reply that it accepted the costs under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, approved by the Diet, and that budgets for keeping the U.S. forces here also are approved by the Diet. Turning to the plaintiffs’ argument that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty is unconstitutional, the government said the Supreme Court has never ruled that this is the case.Three plaintiffs, including a former kamikaze pilot and a survivor of the Battle of Okinawa, aired their testimony during the hearing Oct. 3. Teruko Kuwae, 59, an Okinawa Municipal Government official who lost his father in the Battle of Okinawa, said she did not want the government to use taxpayers’ money for U.S. troops who are wreaking havoc on Okinawa through their crimes and exercise accidents.

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