Lawsuit against Kadena Base

Lawsuit against Kadena Base

Plaintiffs in the third Kadena Base aircraft noise lawsuit at the Okinawa Branch of the Naha District Court. April 28.

Residents around Kadena Air Base submit third lawsuit seeking to stop nighttime flights
April 28, 2011

Residents living near the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa filed a lawsuit at the Okinawa Branch of the Naha District Court on April 28, seeking a ban on flights from night to early morning to reduce noise. They are also claiming compensation from the Japanese government on the basis that their health has been affected by aircraft noise.

This legal action has the largest number of plaintiffs involved against the U.S. military – 22,058 people living in five municipalities, including Okinawa City, Kadena Town, Chatan Town and other places around the Kadena base.
About 35 percent of residents of Kadena Town participated. The plaintiffs demand that the government ban the landing of aircraft from 7:00pm until 7:00am next day, and claim compensation for damage caused by past and future noise pollution, seeking to prove that there is a causal connection between the activities of the air base and residents’ hearing loss and other health issues. Some 400 plaintiffs visited the Okinawa Branch of the Naha District Court to voice their determination.

Shuusei Arakawa, the head of the plaintiffs, said, “We are frustrated that the government does not understood the pain and suffering that it has inflicted upon us. We want to voice this again during the trial.”
“We are to take a step that will be noted in the history of Okinawa,” said Toshio Ikemiyagi, leading attorney, demonstrating his determination to put an end to the flights.

In sentences handed down in similar cases in the past, including the second Kadena suit, calls for the suspension of flights have been dismissed, but compensation for damages to plaintiffs has been accepted for all regions that recorded an annoyance index of 75 decibels or above.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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