• Jiji

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The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal against a high court ruling that ordered the state to pay damages over aircraft noise pollution near the U.S. military’s Yokota base in western Tokyo, while rejecting the plaintiffs’ demand for flights to be suspended.

The decision was made Wednesday by the top court’s Second Petty Bench, presided over by Justice Hiroyuki Kanno.

It finalizes the ruling by Tokyo High Court ordering the Japanese government to pay a total of around ¥768 million in damages over noise pollution to some residents living near the Yokota base and the high court’s rejection of the residents’ petition to suspend late-night and early-morning flights.

In October 2017, the Tokyo District Court’s Tachikawa branch said that the aircraft noise caused interruptions to people’s daily lives and that the government failed to take effective measures to prevent such noise pollution.

The district court ordered the government to pay damages totaling some ¥618 million over past noise pollution to residents living in areas where aircraft noise levels register 75 or higher on the weighted equivalent continuous perceived noise level, an internationally recognized measure of aircraft noise.

But the lower court rejected the request to suspend flights and for damages to be paid over future noise pollution.

In June 2019, the Tokyo High Court upheld the district court’s ruling and ordered the government to pay damages, including for noise from when the lower court decision was made and the day of the issuance of an appeal court’s decision.

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