• Kyodo

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The Miyazaki District Court ordered the government on Monday to pay damages totaling ¥123 million to residents near an Air Self-Defense Force base in Miyazaki Prefecture, determining that aircraft noise caused a nuisance to people’s lives.

But the Miyazaki District Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ demand to halt nighttime and early morning flights at Nyutabaru Air Base, citing the need to operate SDF aircraft and acknowledging the government’s efforts to alleviate noise through such measures as soundproofing nearby houses.

The court ordered the government to pay damages to 172 of the 178 plaintiffs deemed to have suffered from noise levels of 75 or above on an internationally recognized index for aircraft noise, which was employed in past similar lawsuits in Japan.

It excluded the remaining six plaintiffs, saying they suffered noise levels of under 75 on the index.

The amount of compensation ranged from ¥4,000 to ¥20,000 a month depending on the noise level on the index, known as the Weighted Equivalent Continuous Perceived Noise Level.

The plaintiffs had demanded monthly payment of ¥35,000 each.

Presiding Judge Yasuto Odajima said the noise “deprived the residents of sleep and affected activities such as talking.”

But the court rejected the claim that the noise caused health problems such as deafness and high blood pressure, citing the lack of scientific grounds.

It also rejected the demand for the government to compensate for possible future health damage due to continued flights at the air base in Shintomi, saying it is difficult to predetermine noise levels.

The government had argued that the aircraft noise has been alleviated by the houses being soundproofed and that such measures should be considered in determining the amount of compensation and the scope of its recipients.

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