Residents sue U.S. base commander for damages from noise

Two hundred residents near the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa have filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government and the U.S. Futenma base commander over noise pollution.

It is the first time residents sue a commander of the U.S. Forces in Japan over noise.

Filing the lawsuit with the Naha District Court in Okinawa on October 29, the residents argued that they are suffering physically and mentally from the unbearable noise and vibration caused by U.S. military aircraft. They demanded that the Japanese government and the U.S. commander pay them more than 310 million yen (2.5 million dollars) in compensation.

The plaintiffs, who are residents of noisy areas close to the U.S. base, are calling for a ban on flights between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. and on tests of engines causing noise over 55-decibel. They also demand that daytime noise be controlled to under 65 decibels and measures established to record noise levels.

Previous complaints about excessive noise have been rejected on the grounds that Japanese civil courts have no jurisdiction over the U.S. government. (end)