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

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They should immediately halt ALL future flights, but in the court ruling, mandate that each resident to be compensated learn to speak the North Korean dialect of Hangul, as well as their favorite dialect of the Chinese language.

-14 ( +7 / -21 )

If the government is going to choose to have a base there, and jets flying in and out, they should compensate the people for the inconvenience. They should pay for sound-proofing, double windows, etc etc etc, and if necessary, pay for air conditioning and increased electric expenses as well.

They do it down here in Okinawa, they can very well do the same at Atsugi too!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

I don't think anybody is saying that an American airbase can't exist in Japan. Only that it probably shouldn't be in one of the most densely populated urban areas.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

It was really bad location. And even before they built the base in 1938 the surrounding neighborhood was already populated.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

There are alot of uninhabited Islands around japan. Why not build bases there and remove the bulk of the US military to these islands and just keep a skeleton crew in the traditional ones?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I wonder how many of these 6,000 people living in Atsugi are living on ancestral lands or have they become residents in the last 79 years...

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Move!!! Common sense dictates if you choose to live in an area that is prone to certain hazards such as noise, chemical or criminal issues you will subject to the fall-out of such risk. Originally NAF Atsugi was in the middle of nowhere and the closest city was Atsugi, thus the name. Over time people and businesses chose to build and live close to the base. If noise was a issue they could have built up places farther away.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Why not build bases in Fukushima, it is safe according to the government.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Move!!! Common sense dictates if you choose to live in an area that is prone to certain hazards such as noise, chemical or criminal issues you will subject to the fall-out of such risk. Originally NAF Atsugi was in the middle of nowhere and the closest city was Atsugi, thus the name. Over time people and businesses chose to build and live close to the base. If noise was a issue they could have built up places farther away.

Now people "up there" are getting a better understanding of the issues related to MCAS Futenma here in Okinawa.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@Citizen2012 = Great comment !!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I wonder how many of these 6,000 people living in Atsugi are living on ancestral lands or have they become residents in the last 79 years...

That argument certainly carries some moral weight. However, the opposite side of that coin is that the government had no hesitation to sell the land around the base and allow people to build homes on it, homes which they now collect property taxes on. Homes and residents that have every right to be covered by the same noise pollution regulations that the rest of us enjoy.

I haven't looked too deeply into this long running saga but my understanding is that the case is actually very technical. The base is violating some precisely defined noise pollution standards or guidelines set by the Japanese government and this is why the residents have basically won almost every case they've file (but the courts have declined to order the US flights to stop because they don't consider themselves to have that authority).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

i agree with Aly on this one. modern planes can fly pretty fast and far these days, same as missiles. no need to be in densely populated areas or environmentally sensitive areas.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

However, the opposite side of that coin is that the government had no hesitation to sell the land around the base and allow people to build homes on it, homes which they now collect property taxes on.

How is it that you know who actually "owns" the land surrounding the base?

Unlike Okinawa, where the overwhelming majority of base land is privately owned, the bases in mainland are on national government property. However that does not mean that the land surrounding the bases is government land, and if it were, the national government does not typically sell it's land holdings to individuals for personal development.

The prefectures, or local municipalities will, but not the national government, unless it is for a major urban development project.

Also, you are greatly mistaken if the national government collects property taxes as well, that is determined and collected by and administered by the prefecture and local level.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"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.

If you aren't prepared to live with the noise of flights, don't move near a base or on a flight path. It really is THAT simple. I currently live on a flight path, I work on the same flight path and I personally enjoy seeing the planes. I have heard neighbours complain about it - the airport is a good 20 kms from my house. Silly to complain about it when those who moved here could have checked it out before moving. Those living in a town that has no only Americans but also the JSDF have zero reason to complain. The only sympathy I would have for someone is if they moved to the area BEFORE the base was built. Don't want the noise? Don't live near a base or a on flight path. Not that easy? Actually, yes, it is. This is a money grab - and I would actually push it further to state this is an issue people have with the American bases being here. Frankly, if the Americans ever leave, those people can expect it to be a lot worse if the JSDF ever decide to set up shop - and they would. They would NOT be as nice as the Americas are when it comes to thinking of the civilians who live around the bases.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I don't remember areas around Atsugi Navy base as densely populated in early 1960.  Folks should know that if the unknown happens, ie conflict in Korea, the air base will get very busy.  Knowing that, folks just keep building their dream home and then complain of noise.  No one forced families to move to the area, the chose to live there next to the base.  If it is noisy, move to Tokyo, my advise.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I am not sure what they mean by early morning or late at night flights.  There is a Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia which there are planes taking off constantly during the day but not at night. Virginia Beach  is also a big resort community.  Perhaps the Navy might want to look at some restrictions Atsugi on flight times  unless the flights are essential.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I am not sure what they mean by early morning or late at night flights.

Just what they said here. The military fly's in and out at all times of the day and night. It gets particularly bad during periods when the military is conducting exercises.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

That's not noise, that's the sound of your freedom being defended.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

That's not noise, that's the sound of your freedom being defended

That may make sense in the USA but it doesn't here.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

If you aren't prepared to live with the noise of flights, don't move near a base or on a flight path. It really is THAT simple. I currently live on a flight path, I work on the same flight path and I personally enjoy seeing the planes. I have heard neighbours complain about it - the airport is a good 20 kms from my house. Silly to complain about it when those who moved here could have checked it out before moving. Those living in a town that has no only Americans but also the JSDF have zero reason to complain. The only sympathy I would have for someone is if they moved to the area BEFORE the base was built. Don't want the noise? Don't live near a base or a on flight path. Not that easy? Actually, yes, it is

That is a not a good advice. You do know that the Government has approved a new approach plan for aircraft for Haneda as well? Allowing low-flying planes to go over dense residential areas in Shinagawa, Meguro, Shinjuku, etc. Everyone should move?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

@Yubaru

However that does not mean that the land surrounding the bases is government land, and if it were, the national government does not typically sell it's land holdings to individuals for personal development.

I think you've misunderstood me. At some point before or after the base was created, the state either a.) owned the vacant land around the base and decided to sell it off (whether through the national, prefectural or municipal level), or b.) decided not to compulsorily purchase the land (in the event that it was already in the hands of some private owner).

Either way, the point is that the current owners now have every right to enforce their noise pollution rights just like every other resident or property owner in Japan. If the state doesn't like that, they only have themselves to blame.

Also, you are greatly mistaken if the national government collects property taxes as well, that is determined and collected by and administered by the prefecture and local level

I'm talking about 'the state' in general, whether national, prefectural, or municipal. But it's probably a distinction without a difference when it comes to Japan. Afterall, who creates the prefectures, allows them to setup municipalities and collect taxes, subsidises them, and could dissolve them at any time? Yup, the national government.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That's not noise, that's the sound of your freedom being defended.

Sounds like... occupation.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

At some point before or after the base was created, the state either a.) owned the vacant land around the base and decided to sell it off (whether through the national, prefectural or municipal level), or b.) decided not to compulsorily purchase the land (in the event that it was already in the hands of some private owner).

You are stretching to make your point. Trying to cover all the bases?

Atsugi was formerly a Japanese Imperial Air Force installation and taken over by the US during the occupation of Japan. SO....no the Japanese government was not involved, least wise not any post-war government. People made the choice to move into the area around the base.

I'm talking about 'the state' in general, whether national, prefectural, or municipal. But it's probably a distinction without a difference when it comes to Japan. Afterall, who creates the prefectures, allows them to setup municipalities and collect taxes, subsidises them, and could dissolve them at any time? Yup, the national government.

It's a MAJOR distinction when it comes to Japan.

Again, you are stretching things to attempt to make a point, and you'd be wrong to assume what you are here about the municipalities and prefectures.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Everyone should move?

Did you miss my comment where I stated The only sympathy I would have for someone is if they moved to the area BEFORE the base was built. Don't want the noise? Don't live near a base or a on flight path. Not that easy? Actually, yes, it is.

If people moved next to an airport, like the ones you mentioned with Haneda, they agreed to live by and airport that guess what, has airplane noise. It really is that simple. If folks don't want the sounds of planes overhead, don't move next to an airport. I don't want the sounds of an elementary school or daycare next to me. Guess what? When looking to move, I ruled out places next to them.

I'm wondering how many of those complaining actually have their livelihood supported by the base. Same for Okinawa. I do NOT agree with the number of bases/personal Okinawa has to deal with but lord, don't bite the hand that feeds. Many live near the bases because they want to be close to work. The same situation all over the world when people live near bases/airports.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Boo Hoo to you people.

I'm inconvenienced every time I go to the mall and have to listen to screeching female voices barking over each other thru a cone to announce their time sales. And when I'm sitting peacefully in my home and have to listen to wanna-be tough guy motorcycle "gangs" ripping down the road on their junk cycles, to-fuuuuuu trucks driving around blaring their speaker, the right-wing patriots with their nasty messages playing thru speakers, etc, etc, etc.

I've never seen a country with so much noise pollution in all my life. And serving zero purpose. At least Atsugi Base and its flights have a purpose.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Is this a class action lawsuit? Can I put my name on the list? Because those planes and helicopters often disturb my work.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sounds like... occupation.

The fatal flaw in your logic: It's not occupation when your presence is established through a mutual defense treaty.  

wasn't the area the IJA built the airbase originally farmland with Atsugi village a couple miles away?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Yubaru

People made the choice to move into the area around the base.

OK, but do you acknowledge that this is a moral argument and not a legal one? Just like in most other countries, it also doesn't appear to be a valid defence in Japan to claim that the person complaining of a nuisance has 'come to the nuisance', as they say. If it was, the residents would not have succeeded in so many of their previous lawsuits. The people living close to the base are entitled to the exact same rights that you and I would have if our neighbours start causing an unreasonable disturbance that interferes with our quality of life.

The government has simply failed to predict or make any provision for the fact that aircraft would get bigger and noisier and that people in 2017 would no longer just suck it up for the greater good of the nation. Unfortunately they have to pay the price. Either compensate the people, buy up thousands of properties for an eyewatering sum, or instead use that money to relocate the base to a more suitable location.

It's a MAJOR distinction when it comes to Japan.

Well, we disagree. Prefectures aren't mentioned anywhere in the constitution. They are creatures of the national government and only have the rights which the national government decides to give them.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Well, we disagree. Prefectures aren't mentioned anywhere in the constitution. They are creatures of the national government and only have the rights which the national government decides to give them.

Disagree? No you are wrong, prefectures here hold quite a bit of power and the laws of the prefecture in most cases take precedence over the laws of the national government.

Obviously you are unaware of this point, but as I wrote it's a major distinction here.

You obviously have not read the Japanese constitution, self-government and local autonomy is covered by the constitution, and while prefectures are not named specifically it is universally known and accepted that "Local Self-Government" refers to prefectural and municipal governments. Set up solely for the purpose of ease of administration.

This is Chapter 8 of the Japanese Constitution;

http://japan.kantei.go.jp/constitution_and_government_of_japan/constitution_e.html

CHAPTER VIII

LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT

Article 92. Regulations concerning organization and operations of local public entities shall be fixed by law in accordance with the principle of local autonomy.

Article 93. The local public entities shall establish assemblies as their deliberative organs, in accordance with law.

The chief executive officers of all local public entities, the members of their assemblies, and such other local officials as may be determined by law shall be elected by direct popular vote within their several communities.

Article 94. Local public entities shall have the right to manage their property, affairs and administration and to enact their own regulations within law.

Article 95. A special law, applicable only to one local public entity, cannot be enacted by the Diet without the consent of the majority of the voters of the local public entity concerned, obtained in accordance with law.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Personally if I had lost a world war that I initiated, became the richest nation on earth with the victors help, and now have some bases in my nation to help defend against powerful enemies all around...

Well, personally I'd be counting my blessings.

I think it's very odd that the same people who often yelp for peace, no changing of the constitution, and no re arming of Japan, also want the very thing that allows them not to arm up gone.

Wheres the logic in that? You want a massive cake and to eat it all too?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

They are creatures of the national government and only have the rights which the national government decides to give them.

Also, as I noted in my post in reply to this, the "local autonomy" that the prefectures have gives them the power as well to veto certain decisions made by the national government (example the base extension at Henoko in Okinawa) and then the national government bring suit against the prefecture, and the courts getting involved.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

These people or rather complainers should just move if they don't like the bases and the sense of security they take for granted. How many of their family members have volunteered to keep peace and security safe in Japan by joining the Self Defense Forces or have jobs at the base and take them for granted.  Move is best.

For the reply on the post; the US would gladly move out of Japan" that is what President Trump had mentioned before, and seriously do you think the US is not prepared to do just that? Are these people and their beloved kids and husbands going to make Japan safe from incursions such as China?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The fatal flaw in your logic: It's not occupation when your presence is established through a mutual defense treaty. 

Sounds like... capitulation.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Yubaru

The constitution talks about local government but the key words there are 'shall be fixed by law, in accordance with law, determined by law, and within law'. This means national law. Specifically the Local Autonomy Act which authorises the national government to create prefectures and details everything local governments can and cannot do. I understand this is probably a sensitive issue in Okinawa but the prefecture does not exist outside of this single piece of legislation and could theoretically be dissolved at any moment. Unlike America, Japan is ultimately a unitary state.

Article 6 - . "The creation, dissolution, division, or merger or the alteration of the boundary of To, Do, Fu or Ken shall be effected by law [meaning national law]."

the laws of the prefecture in most cases take precedence over the laws of the national government

If you have an example of what you mean that would be helpful. The prefecture cannot override national law in the event of a conflict if that's what you mean. The local autonomy act is quite clear about that.

Article 14 - "Each ordinary local public body shall have the power to enact a bylaw on any subject contemplated in paragraph 2 of Article 2, insofar as not in conflict with law. [meaning national law]"

Historically, I think most of the conflicts have arisen where people claim that national law on a particular subject was meant to be comprehensive (and the conflicting prefectural ordinances or bylaws are therefore unenforceable) but the prefecture argues that the national law was only meant to set a minimum standard which allows local governments to set their own stricter rules. I think the most famous case was about prostitution where the man was fined for violating a local ordinance but he tried to argue it was legal under a comprehensive national law. I don't remember exactly what the result was I'm pretty sure he lost seeing as there are still all sorts of local ordinances on adult entertainment businesses

Also, as I noted in my post in reply to this, the "local autonomy" that the prefectures have gives them the power as well to veto certain decisions made by the national government (example the base extension at Henoko in Okinawa)

I understand what you mean but was that really a 'veto' of the government's base decision? Wasn't it just an attempt to enforce non-conflicting local ordinances that require the governor to authorise these sorts of environmental projects?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It all seems to boil down to a very simple choice the people of Japan have to make. Do they want the USA to continue to underwrite their security in a part of the world that is becoming increasingly threatening or do they not and will change their constitution and stump up the vast ammount of cash and manpower necessary to provide a credible defence against all possible scenarios?

A military expansion the like of which will seriously upset their neighbors!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's always easy to flash peace signs and make poorly worded protest signs proclaiming how peaceful your people/country are when you have the world's strongest armed forces stationed around your country to thwart off the countries who would love to add Japan to its land holdings. Don't worry about ISIS or Al Qaeda - they have you written down in their global notebook as cool, peaceful, and kind people. Don't worry about North Korea or China - they practice the forgive and forget method of global politics. Simply go about your daily lives without any real care about what happens outside your borders because you have your volunteer SDF which are good for cleaning up after natural disasters - they'll protect you from external threats.

I pray the US Armed Forces can pack up and leave here immediately, and then let the complaining citizens arm themselves with colorfully decorated bentos, cans of Hoppy and big smiles and peace signs in hopes that will repel all that's evil in this world.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I pray the US Armed Forces can pack up and leave here immediately, and then let the complaining citizens arm themselves with colorfully decorated bentos, cans of Hoppy and big smiles and peace signs in hopes that will repel all that's evil in this world.

Sounds like... collaboration.

Are you originally Japanese? If not; would you be satisfied for your country to be occupied by foreign armed forces?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As I said earlier, if the US moves out, the JSDF will only move in and will not be as nice. Be careful what you wish for!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So many negative votes for those saying move from the area or don't move there.

Truth is, it's a simple fact - the base has been there for a long time, people probably bought land and houses there because it was cheaper due to the fact there is a base, and now they feel they should be compensated? Okay, get compensated - in the form of sound-proofing, such as double-glazing, insulation and the like. But no, these people are demanding money because we all know, that in this society, money magically cures all ills!

Let the negative votes begin on this comment too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As I said earlier, if the US moves out, the JSDF will only move in 

This is actually happening right now. US naval operations are transferring to Iwakuni. By next year, nearly all us aircraft that were stationed in Atsugi will be operating out of Iwakuni

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bernie O'Mahony

No I completely agree. I'm in opinion that the purchaser of the property is responsible for researching the location for common nuisances. Especially since the base was definitely built before a bulk of the residents purchased the property. Regardless whether the property is near train tracks, an airport, an airforce base, daycare, etc.

Now if the seller did not communicate such a large nuisance before signing the contract, that's a problem I can get behind.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

http://www.j-hangarspace.jp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/atsugi1945.jpg

NAF Atsugi in the 50s.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sounds like... capitulation.

The Philippines threw the American's out. Don't see why the Japanese couldn't do the same if they really wanted to. But then again North Korea is lobbing missiles into the Japan Sea just about every month and the increasingly assertive Chinese hate Japan with a purple passion. Maybe that's why the Japanese have "capitulated" to the US to help defend themselves. I would personally prefer the US completely withdraw from both South Korea and Japan but I suspect the Japanese would feel defenseless without America to back them up. At least those smart enough to understand that shouting "peace" from the rooftops doesn't do much good in the real world.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Now you know why most of the US bases are in Okinawa. Nowhere else would put up with it. I don't see why the US military has to continue to occupy any part of Japan in any case. WWII ended 70 years ago!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Bertie Wooster. It's about location location location. Okinawa is the best place to defend Asian allies and that is why the bases are in Okinawa not because of Japan's or the GOJ choice. It was purely America's

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WWII ended 70 years ago!

I think the hawks are keeping their talons crossed for another one, sadly.

@Wolfpack

At least those smart enough to understand that shouting "peace" from the rooftops doesn't do much good in the real world.

Possibly but is the alternative really so much better? And would the Americans here be happy for a foreign power to have bases in the US?

Pretty sure they wouldn't and understandably so...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You can sue for noise pollution in Japan??? Excellent! I'm going to remember that next election cycle when some politician's speaker trucks come rolling past my apartment at 8am on a Sunday morning with the volume blaring.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The answer is very simple: Remove ALL bases from Japan,So.Korea all of east and southeast Asia! No Noise Pollution.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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