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YAMAGUCHI (Kyodo) About 480 people living near the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture filed a damages suit Monday against the government, seeking some ¥540 million in compensation for noise from military aircraft and a ban on some flights.

A series of lawsuits has been filed over aircraft noise around U.S. bases, including the Kadena base in Okinawa and the Atsugi base, which is also used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force, in Kanagawa Prefecture, but this is the first involving the Iwakuni base.

The 476 plaintiffs, who filed the lawsuit with the Yamaguchi District Court’s Iwakuni branch, live in an area where the noise level as measured by an international environmental index for aircraft noise exceeds the limit for a residential area.

The noise registers 75 or higher on the Weighted Equivalent Continuous Perceived Noise Level index. Under the government’s environmental standards, the noise level should be at 70 or lower in residential areas and at 75 or lower in commercial and industrial districts.

Besides seeking compensation for noise pollution, the plaintiffs are calling for U.S. military aircraft and Self-Defense Forces planes to stop activities such as nighttime takeoffs and landings and circling above the urban area.

The complaint also demands the cancellation of a planned relocation of U.S. carrier-borne fighter jets to Iwakuni from the Atsugi base in a densely populated area outside Tokyo.

Compensation for noise pollution has been awarded in past court rulings, but there has not been any case in which a court has ordered a ban on flights.

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