A C-130J Super Hercules cargo plane lands at Yokota Air Base, Japan, in March.

A C-130J Super Hercules cargo plane lands at Yokota Air Base, Japan, in March. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A Japanese court has awarded more than $5.4 million to people living near Yokota in western Tokyo as compensation for aircraft noise.

Tokyo District Court in Tachikawa ruled last week that noise from aircraft operating at the base is above the “tolerable limit,” obliging the Japanese government to pay compensation, the judgment said.

More than 1,000 residents filed a lawsuit in 2013 seeking compensation for past and future noise damage and to stop military planes from operating at Yokota between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The court rejected the Japanese government’s argument that residents moved to the area knowing about the aircraft noise. However, it also rejected plaintiffs’ demand to suspend flights because the base is operated by U.S. forces under the status of forces agreement.

Yokota’s 374th Airlift Wing said it takes measures to mitigate aircraft noise.

“Measures include observing quiet hours between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily, which means we do our best to schedule missions outside of this time-frame,” a statement said. “We also just switched from the C130H to the C130J model, which has a quieter noise foot print than the H-model.”

Twitter: @SethRobson1

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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