Japanese gov't ordered to pay damages for noise to residents near U.S. airbase in Tokyo

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-30 23:45:07|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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TOKYO, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court on Friday ordered the government to pay damages to residents living in the vicinity of the U.S. Yokota Air Base in the suburbs of Tokyo owing to past noise pollution.

The court, however, dismissed the plaintiffs' demands for future flights to be halted and for compensation to be paid for noise pollution in the future.

The government was ordered by the court to pay 144 residents living around the U.S. base, which is shared by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), who filed the damages suit, to pay a total of around 95.6 million yen (844,000 U.S. dollars).

The residents had also been petitioning the court to halt military flights early in the morning and late at night by both U.S. and Japanese aircraft, and according to local media, they will take their campaign to a higher court.

The Supreme Court in 2016, however, said in a ruling over a similar case that it cannot adjudicate on whether to suspend flights of U.S. aircraft or not.

The top court also said that compensation for future noise pollution could not be granted as the incident had yet to occur and as such could not be assessed.

In Friday's ruling, the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court kept the top court's line by saying that the Japanese government does not have jurisdiction over the flights of U.S. military aircraft.

Complaints by the plaintiffs that the deployment of five Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft at the Yokota base will increase the levels of noise and likelihood of accidents, owing to the plane's checkered safety history, were met with understanding by the court, although it determined the risk of accidents to be "abstract".