The Supreme Court on Thursday overturned lower court rulings that ordered the government to suspend nighttime and early morning Self-Defense Forces flights at the Atsugi air base near Tokyo.

The rejection of the noise pollutant suit over the military base, shared by the SDF and U.S. forces in Kanagawa Prefecture, could affect similar lawsuits concerning five other military bases in Japan — Kadena and Futenma bases in Okinawa Prefecture, Yokota base in Tokyo, Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Komatsu base in Ishikawa Prefecture.

Given that the government has taken measures to alleviate noise pollution around the Atsugi base, it is difficult to claim that flights by SDF aircraft lack validity or fall outside the discretion of the defense minister, presiding Judge Hiroshi Koike said in the ruling.