Residents win compensation over Futenma noise complaint

The Naha District Court ordered Thursday the Japanese government on to pay a total of ¥754 million in compensation to residents near the MCAS Futenma air station over aircraft noise.

About 2,100 residents living in the vicinity of the base had filed the lawsuit against the government claiming that the noise levels in their area exceed the central government-set threshold, for which noise reduction work should have been conducted at government expense.

The plaintiffs claimed that they were not able to sleep well because of the noise and are experiencing psychological distress because they fear plane crashes. They had demanded ¥1.01 billion in damages from the Japanese government, but not demanding suspension of the flights.

In its ruling, the Naha District Court agreed and said the noise pollution is serious and extensive, and is not something that should be tolerated.

“It was significant that the court admitted Futenma is noisy,” Kotaro Yakabi, 89-year-old head of the plaintiffs’ group, said at a news conference held after the ruling in Okinawa City. “We would like to strongly demand the state to relocate the MCAS Futenma as soon as possible.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference in Tokyo held after the court ruling, “Our claims couldn’t win sufficient understanding from the court.” He said the government would decide on its next move on the case after consulting with concerned ministries.

Currently, there are other lawsuits winding through the court system filed by various resident groups seeking damages and suspension or restrictions on flight operations on Futenma, on which the court decisions are pending.

  • ewacloser

    Do the residents near Naha get the same?

  • okinawa080

    Perhaps this ruling may serve as precedent in a lawsuit over the loud, obnoxious, meaningless, sleep disturbing, stress inducing, tourist reducing noise created by the motorcyclists every night on Highway 58 beginning near the Renaissance Hotel and Resort, right past Moon Beach Resort and Monterey Hotel through Sun Marina Resort (Nakadomari, Maeganiku, Fukachu).

    I have lived in the Kadena Air Base flight paths, or the land directly below where the planes circle after taking off and before landing: and the obnoxious, purposefully made (and purposeless) noise “patterns” made by the inconsiderate motorcycle riders (and unchecked by government authorities) is louder, more sleep disturbing, more stressful, and likely to have more economic impact both upon tourism and worker productivity, than any noises made by flights ensuring the economic, political, and physical security and prosperity of the Ryukyu and Pacific region.

    • matt99

      I agree, and obnoxiously loud motorcycles are everywhere, not just Okinawa. They remove the mufflers as soon as they buy them cause they are pea-brained jerks, and the cops do nothing about it.

  • J Smith

    I agree the motorcycles are so much more noisy from about 9 pm til 2 am and they say nothing about them. It’s not like we can sue for damages either.

  • John

    What came first the base or the housing? People built the housing knowing the base was there and operating. Residents have gotten new windows and other sound proofing aids given to them before.

21:28 24 Oct , 2016