National / Crime & Legal

Court nixes compensation claim over dispatch of Tokyo riot police to Okinawa

JIJI

The Tokyo District Court rejected a claim on Monday for compensation over the Metropolitan Police Department’s dispatch of anti-riot officers to guard construction work at a U.S. military facility in Okinawa Prefecture.

Presiding Judge Takao Furuta dismissed the claim by some 180 Tokyo residents over what they said was an illegal use of public funds.

The MPD sent a mobile police unit to the Camp Gonsalves training area in Okinawa Prefecture in 2016 to provide security for the construction of a helipad there.

The plaintiffs demanded that the governor of Tokyo seek damages worth some ¥280 million in costs for the dispatch from two former MPD superintendents-general, arguing that there was no need for the deployment and that the construction was illegal, as it did not have the agreement of local residents.

They said the former Tokyo police chiefs who ordered the deployment therefore bear the responsibility of covering the costs, including the dispatched officers’ pay.

The judge ruled the dispatch legitimate, saying that there were “reasonable grounds” for the deployment because of the circumstances concerning protest activity at the construction site at the time and that the legality of the construction work was subject to discussion.

The MPD and the police departments of some other prefectures sent riot policemen for security operations at the helipad construction site at the request of the Okinawa Prefectural Government’s public safety commission.