Court rejects Okinawans' appeal over Marine night flights

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 14, 2011

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Japan’s Supreme Court has denied an appeal by Okinawa residents who sued the Japanese government to suspend night air operations at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, a spokeswoman for the Supreme Court in Tokyo said Friday.

The group of 404 residents had won about $4.9 million in damages due to noise pollution around the base following a decision by the Fukuoka High Court in 2010. But the court said it had no power to change air operations conducted under an international treaty with the United States, prompting a group’s appeal.

The Supreme Court in Tokyo refused to hear the appeal, which requested a ban on U.S. military flights between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. The court’s presiding judge said there was no grounds for a rehearing, the spokeswoman said.

Residents around Kadena Air Base, the largest overseas air base in the region, have also received damages from the Japanese government in the past, but they were also unsuccessful in getting flight operations modified.

More than 20,000 Kadena residents have filed a new class-action lawsuit claiming additional monetary damages and again pushing to restrict air traffic. The first hearing is scheduled for Thursday on Okinawa.

From staff reports


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