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SECURITY > Okinawa

Damages ruling fixed on U.S. base noise pollution in Okinawa

  • March 24, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 7:10 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, March 24 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal against a high court order that the state pay 26,125 million yen in damages over aircraft noise pollution near a U.S. base in Okinawa Prefecture.

 

In the ruling, dated Tuesday, the top court’s Third Petty Bench also finalized the high court’s rejection of the plaintiffs’ petition for the suspension of night and early morning flights of U.S. military aircraft at the Kadena base in the southernmost prefecture.

 

In the third litigation over aircraft noise pollution at the base, residents living nearby claimed they suffered health and other damage from noise from U.S. planes taking off and landing at the air base.

 

The Okinawa branch of Naha District Court in February 2017
ruled that there had been no noticeable progress in Japanese and U.S. governments efforts to tackle the noise pollution since the first litigation, adding that health risks, such as metal distress and hypertension, had increased.

 

The branch ordered the state to pay a total of 30,198 million yen to 22,005 plaintiffs living in areas where aircraft noise levels registered 75 or higher on the weighted equivalent continuous perceived noise level, or WECPNL, a gauge measuring aircraft noise, while rejecting the plaintiffs’ demand for the suspension of night and early morning flights.

 

In September 2019, Fukuoka High Court’s branch in Naha, Okinawa’s capital, reduced the damages the state must pay to 26,125 million yen, saying there was no evidence to confirm that the plaintiffs have generally developed hypertension due to the noise.

 

In a separate suit against the U.S. government, the top court’s Third Petty Bench dismissed an appeal filed by plaintiffs, saying that the suit involved issues that are beyond Japanese jurisdiction. The decision was also dated Thursday.

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