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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 September 14 - 20  > Plaintiffs in lawsuit against gov’t tell their stories about WWII battles in Pacific Ocean theater
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2016 September 14 - 20 [PEACE]

Plaintiffs in lawsuit against gov’t tell their stories about WWII battles in Pacific Ocean theater

September 15, 2016
In a lawsuit seeking an apology and compensation from the state government for war damages caused by battles on South Pacific islands such as Saipan and Tinian during WWII, four plaintiffs on September 14 testified in the oral proceedings held at the Naha District Court in Okinawa Prefecture.

A 78-year-old male plaintiff said that while he and his family were evacuating from Palau by ship, the ship was torpedoed and sunk by U.S. warships. He explained that he had to leave behind his older sister who was seriously injured but still alive. “It is the most painful memory of my life,” the man added. He pointed out that many civilians were victimized as the Japanese military packed them onto the ship’s lowest deck.

The man went on to say that his older brother, who was drafted at the age of 14 and killed in battle on Palau’s Peleliu Island, is still “alive” in terms of the family registry because a government notification of his brother’s death has yet to be issued. “Such an unreasonable act by the state is totally unacceptable,” he stressed.

Another male plaintiff, 78, said that he tried to flee Palau by a private ship, but was ordered to get off the ship. Just after that, he went on to say the ship was attacked and sunk by U.S. military aircraft and all people on board were killed. The man recalled that after the incident, he saw a lot of bodies washed up onto the beach.

A female plaintiff in tears told her story about the battle on Saipan Island. The 81-year-old woman said that an air-raid shelter where she and her family hid was hit by a bomb and her mother was killed right in front of her. She also said that she had to jump over bodies on the battlefield in order to survive.

A 73-year-old woman said that her family was forced out of their bomb shelter and then strafed by U.S. military aircraft. As a result, she said, a bullet went through her shoulder and her mother and younger brother were killed. She explained that even after the war ended, she experienced hardships because she was orphaned and suffered from the aftereffects of the injury to her shoulder.

Past related article:
> Ex-South Pacific island residents from Okinawa sue gov’t for war damages [August 16, 2013]
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