Futenma noise lawsuit is appealed to Japan's Supreme Court
Stars and Stripes October 7, 2005
NAHA, Okinawa — A trio of Okinawans unhappy that an appeals court tossed out their suit against the former commander of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma last month have appealed their case to Japan’s Supreme Court.
The appeal was filed Wednesday in the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court by three of 404 residents of Ginowan who sued Marine Col. Richard Lueking, now retired, and the Japanese government in October 2002. The residents claimed noise from the base, located in the middle of the city, harmed their physical and mental health.
They sought $5.51 million from both parties but a Naha District Judge dismissed the case against Lueking in September 2004. The judge ruled that the national government is responsible for damages caused by a civil servant in the course of official business.
Ten residents appealed that decision, which was upheld by the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court on Sept. 22. They had sought 15.7 million yen (about $142,700) from Lueking, contending he could have taken steps to decrease the aircraft noise.
Lueking never appeared in court as a defendant.
The lawsuit against the Japanese government is pending in lower court. No court date has been set for hearing the appeal.