'Quiet night' demand by residents near Kadena base dismissed
The Naha District Court has dismissed a demand by residents near the U.S. Air Force’s Kadena air base for a ban on night and early morning flights, saying “the case, based on customary international laws, is beyond Japan’s jurisdiction.”
In handing down the ruling on Thursday, Presiding Judge Tetsuya Fujikura said, “A foreign military’s sovereign act in a country can be exempted from local jurisdiction as long as it is stationed upon an agreement with the host country.”
The district court’s branch in the city of Okinawa rejected the argument of a group of 146 residents near the base in Okinawa Prefecture that the United States cannot be exempted from liabilities under the law on the civil jurisdiction of Japan with respect to foreign countries, which took effect in 2010.
“(We) will keep fighting until the day residents attain a truly quiet night,” the plaintiffs said in a statement released after the judgment.
The group is part of some 22,000 plaintiffs in a separate suit seeking a night-to-morning flight ban at one of the largest U.S. military facilities in East Asia and damages from the Japanese government.
The same branch of the district court plans to hand down its ruling on Feb 23.