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Okinawans file noise lawsuit against US government

OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa — Residents around Kadena Air Base filed a lawsuit Friday against the U.S government over aircraft noise, seeking about $2.7 million in compensation and a halt to U.S. nighttime flights.

The 144 plaintiffs are part of more than 22,000 residents who filed a similar suit against the Japanese government in April 2011, seeking $544 million for physical and mental damage from the noise.

It’s the residents’ second attempt to sue the U.S. government. They believe they have a better chance this time under a revised Japanese civil law, said Kichiro Takagi, one of their lawyers.

In 2009, the Act on the Civil Jurisdiction of Japan with Respect to a Foreign State ruled out some acts from immunity, Takagi said, adding that residents near the base have long suffered from various health problems including hearing loss and high-blood pressure.

sumidac@pstripes.osd.mil

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