CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Japanese Supreme Court has rejected an appeal to halt night air operations at Kadena Air Base.

The court dismissed an argument last week by local residents, upholding a February 2009 ruling by the Fukuoka High Court’s Naha branch that dismissed the residents’ demand to suspend flight activities from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., supreme court spokesman Masakatsu Morimura said Monday.

The high court ruled that U.S. military activities are based on a bilateral pact between the U.S. and Japan governments, and therefore are outside the control of the Japanese government. The high court, however, awarded 5.62 billion yen (about $68.5 million) to 5,519 residents — the largest compensation award ever in an aircraft noise suit in Japan — for damages inflicted on residents’ health and quality of life.

Among the residents, 466 of them filed a final appeal in March 2009 in pursuit of the government to suspend military aircraft operations during early and later hours.

Thursday’s ruling by the supreme court, however, does not appear to be the end of litigation.

Toshio Ikemiyagi, a lead lawyer for the residents, said Monday that about 22,000 residents are planning to file another lawsuit over the noise, in what would be the third such class-action case by residents near the air base.

“We are absolutely dissatisfied with the supreme court’s ruling that the government has no control over the activities of the military,” he said. “As long as the pollution goes on, so do our court battles.”

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