CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa --- A Japanese court has awarded more than $265 million to people living around Kadena Air Base in the largest monetary settlement over U.S. military aircraft noise in the nation’s history.
The verdict was rendered Thursday by a three-judge panel from the Okinawa City branch of the Naha District Court. The judges awarded $265.9 million to 22,005 residents – about $12,000 per plaintiff – for noise beyond permissible levels.
The judges admonished the Japanese government for ignoring the situation and not taking concrete steps to curb the noise. However, they rejected demands to limit U.S. military flight operations, which the court said contribute to peace and security in the region.
The plaintiffs plan to appeal that part of the ruling.
“The court found that the noise was harmful but it cannot stop it,” said plaintiff Yoshinori Yamada, 76, outside the courthouse after the verdict. “I am outraged.”
The Japanese government can appeal the monetary award to a higher court. The Japan Supreme Court lowered the award in a similar suit over noise at Naval Air Facility Atsugi in December. (end of excerpt)
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