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.