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6,000 around Atsugi base to sue gov’t for noise pollution next month

  • July 22, 2017
  • , Kyodo News , 1:47 p.m.
  • English Press

YOKOHAMA — Around 6,000 people will sue the Japanese government next month to seek a halt to nighttime and early morning flights at the Atsugi air base near Tokyo and compensation for noise pollution, their lawyer said Saturday.


The would-be plaintiffs in the suit to be filed with the Yokohama District Court on Aug. 4 are mostly those who live near the air base, used by the U.S. military and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, and may be joined by 2,000 to 3,000 others in the fall or later.


Plaintiffs in the case may total around 10,000, according to the lawyer.


“Our lives are disrupted and are even put at risk whenever we are hit with booming noise (from aircraft flying) overhead. We will never accept the reality of the Atsugi base-related flights,” Shuji Onami, head of the would-be plaintiffs’ group, said at a meeting in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Saturday.


Those who are suing the government will seek 40,000 yen ($360) a month for the noise pollution caused by flights to and from the air base over the past three years and until such flights are halted, according to the lawyer. They will also seek consultations between Japanese and U.S. officials over ways to end the noise pollution around the base.


The case will be the latest in a series of suits seeking the suspension of nighttime and early morning flights at the air base. In a case in which about 7,000 people became plaintiffs, the Supreme Court last December upheld compensation for past aircraft noise, but overturned an earlier ruling that had ordered a halt to flights by the Self-Defense Forces and that had ordered the government to compensate for future disturbances.


The Atsugi base is home to carrier-based U.S. Navy aircraft, among other aircraft based there. But they are slated to be moved to the Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi Prefecture by May next year.

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