In Japan, several American air force bases have raised the problem of aircraft noise pollution. This paper considers how municipalities around American air force bases have dealt with this problem. The study clarifies the relationship between aircraft noise pollution and compensation received in the municipalities around Yokota Air Force Base, an American air force base located near Tokyo, and the political actions taken by the municipalities against such pollution.
Yokota Air Force Base was established in 1945. The functions of this base had expanded by the 1960s, so aircraft noise pollution intensified. Only Akishima City Council adopted many resolutions against aircraft noise. Aircraft noise pollution was not eliminated. Some inhabitants of Akishima City went to court to require the United States of America not to fly at night.
The aircraft noise pollution intensified in Akishima City and Mizuho Town, which are located in the area where the runway of the base was extended. The national government has granted the municipalities subsidies as compensation for aircraft noise pollution. Fussa City, Musashi-Murayama City, and Mizuho Town have received large national subsidies. These municipalities did not adopt many resolutions against aircraft noise.
The national government has increased the subsidies since 1974 in exchange for the consolidation of American air force bases in the Kanto Region into Yokota Air Force Base. The public finances of Akishima City have depended on subsidies because of urbanization.
The compensation provided by the national government has been based on territoriality, although the pollution is unterritoriality. The political actions of the municipalities around the base have been segmented so aircraft noise pollution has not been eliminated.