Court Awards $240 Million For Kadena Base Noise

Court awards $240 million for Kadena base noise

A high court has ordered Japan's government to pay more than 240 million dollars to people living near the US Kadena airbase in Okinawa for suffering due to aircraft noise. But it rejected their demand for a ban on nighttime flights of US military aircraft.

The Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court handed down the ruling on Wednesday.

Some 22,000 people sought compensation from the government, which provides the base to the United States, for health damage. They also demanded a ban on flights at night and early in the morning.

In the first trial in 2017, a lower court ordered the government to pay nearly 280 million dollars in compensation, but dismissed the demand for a flight ban.

Both the government and plaintiffs appealed the ruling.

Presiding Judge Masamichi Okubo said on Wednesday that US forces' activities benefit the people of Japan in defense and diplomacy, but inflict a special sacrifice on some, including the plaintiffs. He said this inequality cannot be overlooked.

But he ordered compensation of around 37 million dollars less than that ordered by the lower court.

The flight ban demand was again dismissed. The judge said the government is not in a position to restrict US forces' base management, as it is entrusted to the US.