• Kyodo

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The top court has rejected a demand by residents near a U.S. base in Okinawa Prefecture demanding flight suspensions, court officials said Thursday.

The Supreme Court’s No. 2 Petty Bench upheld the decision by the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court in April last year, saying that Japan “was not in a position to limit” flights, as it has no right to manage the air base under various security agreements.

The top court made the decision final Wednesday.

The plaintiffs have termed the decision “extremely unjust” and plan to again bring the case to court.

Last year, the high court had nonetheless ordered the Japanese government to pay damages to some 3,400 residents over aircraft noise from U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, judging it to be “beyond endurance,” while lowering the amount to be paid. The court’s order for the state to pay compensation of ¥2.12 billion has already been finalized.

The high court had recognized the stressful impacts the aircraft noise caused on the public, disrupting sleep and daily life.

In November 2016, the Okinawa branch of the Naha District Court acknowledged that noise from aircraft using the U.S. military airfield, located in the center of the city of Ginowan, disrupted sleep and caused other health problems.

There have been several lawsuits regarding base-related noise complaints in Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan.

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