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Japan court orders halt to night flights at naval base

TOKYO--A court Wednesday ordered Japan's military to suspend night flights from one base in the first such ruling over noise caused by fighter planes.

The Yokohama district court ruled in favor of some 7,000 people living near Atsugi Base, which is jointly operated by the U.S. navy and Japan's Marine Self-Defense Force, saying Japanese planes must not fly between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The ruling also ordered the Japanese government to pay about 7 billion yen (US$69 million) in compensation to plaintiffs, but said it could not tell the U.S. military to ground its planes.

“The government does not possess power to order U.S. forces in Japan to suspend flights,” presiding judge Hiroyuki Samura said, public broadcaster NHK reported.

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