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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 May 21 - 27  > Court bans SDF military night flights
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2014 May 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Court bans SDF military night flights

May 22, 2014
The Yokohama District Court on May 21 ordered that night flights of the Maritime Self-Defense Force aircraft at the Atsugi base be banned and the state pay plaintiffs 7 billion yen in total in damages. This is the first ruling of this kind.

The plaintiffs are 6,993 residents living around the U.S. Navy Atsugi Base. The military facility is located in the middle of a densely populated area in Kanagawa Prefecture and jointly used by the U.S. Navy and the Japanese MSDF. In the court battle, they argued that military aircraft are causing serious noise pollution and demanded the ban on night flights of both the U.S. and Japanese military and compensation for damages.

The court decision points out that the residents around the base are deprived of sleep by the incessant roar of aircraft. The court approved the plaintiffs’ demand that the SDF aircraft refrain from flying during the time period between 10 pm and 6 am, while dismissing the demand for the same regulation to be imposed on the U.S. military.

The court ruling also said that the excessive noise harms residents’ interests regarding their health and living conditions and ordered the national government to provide a total of 7 billion yen in compensation.

At a meeting held after the ruling, the plaintiffs’ group leader Fujita Eiji, while acknowledging the value of the court order to prohibit SDF aircraft from flying at night, stressed, “We need to encourage the court to impose the same restriction on the U.S. jets. We will keep on fighting.”
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