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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 10 - 16  > Court awards compensation for noise damage from US Futenma base
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2015 June 10 - 16 [US FORCES]

Court awards compensation for noise damage from US Futenma base

June 12, 2015
The Okinawa branch of the Naha District Court ordered the Japanese government on June 11 to pay residents living near the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station a total of 754 million yen in compensation for the noise pollution caused by military aircraft assigned to the base.

About 2,200 people in Okinawa’s Ginowan City, which hosts the air station, had filed a lawsuit with the district court, seeking damages amounting to more than one billion yen as well as suspension of those aircraft’s flight training exercises in nighttime and early morning hours.

The Futenma base is located in the middle of densely populated areas. Many U.S. aircraft, including 24 MV-22 Ospreys, are flying over the residential districts on a daily basis.

The presiding judge said, “Allowing the U.S. forces to use the air station in the manner that it does constitutes a violation of human rights, and thus the installation and management of the base is illegal.”

The court ruling points out that the noise pollution prevents local residents from engaging in normal everyday conversations, watching TV and listening to the radio, studying, and getting enough sleep. It also recognized that they are subjected to mental stress due to the fear that accidents involving the aircraft could occur at any time. However, the decision did not order suspension of flight training drills.

At a news conference after the ruling, the plaintiffs’ group leader, Yakabi Kotaro, 89, emphasized the significance of the court judgment which held the state responsible for the noise pollution. “Offering compensation cannot be a justification for continuing to inflict damage on us. The Futenma base should be shut down as quickly as possible,” he said.

Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi published a comment on the issue, stating, “The prefectural government will continue to demand that the Japanese and U.S. administrations remove the air station from Okinawa.”

Past related article:
> Planned US base in Okinawa will increase noise pollution: Yamashita [March 18, 2015]
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