The Tokyo High Court put out its ruling on Wednesday on a high-profile suicide by a soldier who was in Japan’s Marine Self Defense Forces (MSDF). The court decided that the former MSDF officer implicated and the government to pay 73 million yen (around US$714,000) in compensation for the 2004 suicide of a junior crewman deployed on the MSDF destroyer Tachikaze after it apparent bullying by the officer, with the specified amount for damages increasing sharply from the earlier 2011 ruling.
Judge Kenta Suzuki, presiding over the case, said that there was a causal relationship between the bullying and the suicide, ruling that “the suicide was predictable from the remarks and behavior” of the crewman. The judge stated that the evidence showing that the documents of an internal investigation was destroyed and concealed by the MSDF were important to the ruling. The January 2011 ruling by the Yokohama District Court acknowledged that the suicide may have been caused by the officer’s bullying, but it did not give responsibility to the MSDF for stopping the suicide. Therefore compensation was given for the violence and extortion against the crewman, but not for his death.
The “missing documents” were raised after it was revealed that there were records of a survey conducted among the crew of the MSDF destroyer Tachikaze immediately after the suicide showing that there had been obvious violence and extortion against him. The sailor’s family requested disclosure of the results, but the MSDF refused. During the appeal, an MSDF lieutenant commander admitted the existence of the documents, with the family demanding additional damages from the government for the intentional cover-up of evidence by the MSDF. But the high court’s ruling had asked the state to give an amount more than what was asked for by the family, with the mother of the sailor expressing her gratitude and satisfaction at the court’s decision on Wednesday.
[via Jiji Press]
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