• Kyodo

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Residents in a suit over noise at the Atsugi Air Base in Kanagawa Prefecture have appealed a May 21 Yokohama District Court ruling that only partially met their demand that flights be suspended at night.

The ruling was the first in Japan ordering the government to suspend regular nighttime flights by Japanese Self-Defense Forces aircraft. However, the plaintiffs also want U.S. military flights to cease.

“U.S. military plane flights must be suspended to prevent noise,” lawyers for the plaintiffs said Tuesday.

The earlier ruling said Japan’s bilateral agreements meant it could not order the U.S. military to ground its aircraft.

The case will now go to the Tokyo High Court.

The government has also filed an appeal against an order to pay the plaintiffs around ¥7 billion in damages, the Defense Ministry said. It filed an appeal against the flight suspension order on May 26.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy jointly use the Atsugi base.

The district court ruling ordered the MSDF to suspend flights between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. — rather than between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., as the plaintiffs had sought.