Tokyo residents win compensation over US military base noise

11 October 2017 - 10:19 By AFP
Aerial view of the Yokota Airbase.
Aerial view of the Yokota Airbase.
Image: via google photo

Some 1,000 Tokyo residents won compensation Wednesday over aircraft noise coming from a nearby US military base, but they lost a bid to halt flights at odd hours.

Tokyo District Court ordered the Japanese government to pay residents some 610 million yen ($5.5 million) in total. But it rejected their call to block flights between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am at the Yokota Air Base, which hosts some 4,000 US military personnel.

Local residents have long complained about noise levels around the base located in a Tokyo suburb, particularly take-offs and landings at night and in the early morning.

"The noise has disturbed their daily life and caused psychological damage" to residents, presiding judge Takeo Setoguchi said in Wednesday's verdict, according to Jiji Press agency.

The government "is not making enough of an effort to find a solution to the noise issue", he added.

But the court rejected the push to suspend flights at odd hours, in line with previous rulings that have cited the government's inability to control the actions of a foreign third party such as the US military.

The ruling also threw out a request for damages based on future flights from the busy base.

Lawsuits have been filed across Japan over noise complaints related to the many military bases located in the country, which hosts about 47,000 troops as part of a joint security treaty.

In February, another court awarded record compensation of 30.2 billion yen to some 22,000 residents living near a US military base in southernmost Okinawa.