TOKYO, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- A high court on Thursday ordered the Japanese government to pay some 950 million yen (8.3 million U.S. dollars) in damages to a number of residents near the U.S. Futenma air base in Okinawa prefecture for aircraft noise.
The Fukuoka High Court's Naha branch upheld a former district court ruling ordering the central government to pay damages but raised the amount of payment from around 754 million (6.6 million U.S. dollars) previously to some 950 million yen.
Some 2,200 residents filed the suit in 2012 with the Okinawa branch of the Naha District Court against the government, complaining of emotional distress and negative impacts on the health caused by the aircraft noise and demanded 1 billion yen in compensation.
The district court ruled in June last year that the government should pay a total of some 754 million yen in damages to around 2,100 of the plaintiffs. Both the plaintiffs and the government appealed the ruling.
A separate lawsuit was filed by 3,395 residents who were not plaintiffs of the previous suit. The district court made a ruling last month and ordered the central government to pay around 2.46 billion yen in damages to the residents, though rejecting their demand for a halt to flights at the base.
The Futenma air base is located in downtown Ginowan city, Okinawa Prefecture, surrounded by residential areas. Local residents have been concerned over flights at the air base causing noise, air pollution and endangering public safety, especially after the crash of a Marine Corps CH-53D transport helicopter on the campus of Okinawa International University in 2004 .
The Japanese and U.S. governments have been seeking to move the Futenma base from Ginowan to the less-populated Henoko coastal area of Nago. The people of Okinawa, however, demand the Futenma base to be relocated outside the prefecture.
Okinawa hosts some 75 percent of U.S. bases in Japan while accounting for only 0.6 percent of the country's total land mass.