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Court penalizes Defense Ministry for covering up sailor's suicide

10 Comments

A court condemned the Defense Ministry on Wednesday for hiding evidence that proved there was a link between a young sailor's suicide and his vicious bullying by a senior officer.

The Tokyo High Court ordered the government and the officer to pay more than 70 million yen in compensation to the family of a 21-year-old man who killed himself by jumping in front of a train in 2004.

The officer, who was serving aboard the warship Tachikaze, reportedly shot at his young charge with an airgun and forced him to buy pornographic movies.

Neither man has been publicly identified.

In the original legal case, a lower court said the defense ministry was not responsible for the man's death, but ordered it to pay 4.4 million yen to his family for the officer's hazing and extortion.

But when the victim's family appealed to the higher court, a whistleblower revealed that the ministry had hidden key documents showing the results of an in-house investigation conducted following the sailor's suicide.

The ministry had insisted the documents, in which fellow sailors testified on the hazing and extortion of the senior naval officer and said the depressed young man's suicide had seemed imminent, had been destroyed.

The court said the ministry had illegally concealed "significant evidence for the court procedure."

A ministry spokesman earlier told AFP that the official in charge had "apologised for testifying not based on facts."

The senior officer was discharged from the navy after a court found him guilty of assaults on underlings, but his 30-month prison sentence was suspended for four years.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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That's sad, a supervisor/officer in charge is to be a support for those underneath or assigned to work for him not someone who'll abuse and bully. Glad the family was given better restitution, 21 is definitely far too young an age.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The senior officer was discharged from the navy after a court found him guilty of assaults on underlings, but his 30-month prison sentence was suspended for four years.

Why was the prison sentence suspended? I don't see any good reason in this case for this individual not to go to prison.

A ministry spokesman earlier told AFP that the official in charge had “apologised for testifying not based on facts.”

More importantly, why wasn't the official in charge arrested and imprisoned? It seems like there is no penalty for perjury in Japan?

... Oh, wait there is,

Penal Code Law number:Act No. 45 of 1907 Chapter XX Crimes of Perjury (偽証) (Perjury) 第百六十九条 法律により宣誓した証人が虚偽の陳述をしたときは、三月以上十年以下の懲役に処する。 Article 169 When a witness who has sworn in accordance with law gives false testimony, imprisonment with work for not less than 3 months but not more than 10 years shall be imposed.

and

(証拠隠滅等) (Suppression of Evidence) 第百四条 他人の刑事事件に関する証拠を隠滅し、偽造し、若しくは変造し、又は偽造若しくは変造の証拠を使用した者は、二年以下の懲役又は二十万円以下の罰金に処する。 Article 104 A person who suppresses, damages, counterfeits or alters evidence relating to a criminal case of another person, or who uses counterfeit or altered evidence, shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than 200,000 yen.

So the real question here is why these laws are not being enforced?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Frungy my sentiments exactly! Nice post!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Good on the whistleblower

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hes a senior officer, of course they wont do a thing. All the thuggery and corruption from the suits is unknown by the public these days??? thought so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As above, great post Frungy. With no jail time, the headline should read: Court penalizes Taxpayers due to Defense Ministry covering up sailor's suicide

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Airgun? Lol he had to buy pornographic movies??? Hahaha oh no!

I was duct taped to the wall while i was sleeping and beaten with broom sticks in the US navy stationed in yokosuka....

Half an open oil drum of jet fuel was spilled on me from the flight deck as i was under keeping lookout for submarines....ON THE SMOKING AREA!!!

We were told if we think we had it bad.... The japanese navy was worse...

Now I think I should have been in the Japanese Navy long ago...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Article 169 When a witness who has sworn in accordance with law gives false testimony, imprisonment with work for not less than 3 months but not more than 10 years shall be imposed.

Yes, such laws exist, but it is pretty hard to get them to stick. The defendant and the witnesses they'll use are coached by lawyers to say things that are not quite perjurious. A simple example might be saying "As far as I can remember, those documents were destroyed" rather than "I'm certain the documents were destroyed." Even if it was found out they aren't ... good luck proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the guy intentionally lied rather than had a convenient error of memory.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope the officer is paying out most of that ¥70,000,000 (and the government the rest). I hope he has to work 50 hours / week until he is 70 to do it too!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kazuaki, in this case I think they could make it stick:

a whistleblower revealed that the ministry had hidden key documents showing the results of an in-house investigation conducted following the sailor’s suicide.

The ministry had insisted the documents, in which fellow sailors testified on the hazing and extortion of the senior naval officer and said the depressed young man’s suicide had seemed imminent, had been destroyed.

Even if the documents hadn't been destroyed they could have obtained new testimonies to replace them since the other sailors were still around.

White_ShinobiApr. 24, 2014 - 12:14PM JST Airgun? Lol he had to buy pornographic movies??? Hahaha oh no! I was duct taped to the wall while i was sleeping and beaten with broom sticks in the US navy stationed in yokosuka.... Half an open oil drum of jet fuel was spilled on me from the flight deck as i was under keeping lookout for submarines....ON THE SMOKING AREA!!!

So you were assaulted, and then members of the crew deliberately endangered your safety and the safety of the entire ship by willfully spilling a flammable substance in an area where they could reasonably expect open flames to be present.

That's not a joking matter mate. You should be busted down to lower than a cockroach for not reporting it, and whoever is responsible should be dishonorably discharged after 20 years or so in the brig. You acted irresponsibly, your crew mates acted irresponsibly, and by condoning this sort of behavior you put every single person on that ship in danger. You can just thank your lucky stars that you weren't in a real navy. You're a disgrace. And what's worse you seem to think it is a joke and be proud of it. You dishonor your uniform and your entire service.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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