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Okinawans sue Japan over US military aircraft noise

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 30, 2012

OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa — Residents around Marine Corps Air Station Futenma filed a new lawsuit Friday against the Japanese government over aircraft noise at the base.

More than 3,000 Japanese plaintiffs are seeking about $64 million in damages due to noise pollution, and a halt to all U.S. air operations there, according to the complaint filed in Naha District Court.

Such noise lawsuits against U.S. bases in Japan, including Kadena Air Base just a few miles north, have become commonplace and have resulted in large government payouts to residents who claim to be unfairly subjected to daily overhead flights of U.S. military helicopters, fighter jets and cargo aircraft.

About 400 residents filed a similar suit against Futenma in 2002, and a Japanese high court ordered the government to pay $4.5 million in compensation two years ago.

So far, Japan’s judiciary has denied requests to shut down or curb the U.S. military flight operations, saying it has no authority over the bilateral security pact that governs such operations.

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