Data source
Date of text
02 Nov 2006
Seat of court
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
2004 (Gyo-Hi) No. 114
Court name
Supreme Court of Japan
noise pollution

In 1964, the Minister of Construction had adopted a city plan pertaining to Tokyo City Planning High-Speed Railroad. The Tokyo Metropolitan Governor in 1993 made a change to the Railroad City Plan related to the urban high-speed railroad choosing an elevated structure for one section of the railroad and decided to develop consecutive grade separation between railroads and roads, which aimed at increasing the convenience of railroad transport, ease congestion, eliminate traffic jams at the railroad crossings, and to achieve integrated urban development.
The appellants alleged illegality of this decision based on which the Railroad Approval was granted, arguing that this decision rejected the underground structure, an alternative that was preferable over the Elevated Structure in terms of the impact on the surrounding environment and the amount of required project costs, and chose the Elevated Structure that was inferior to the underground structure in these aspects and would cause serious noise or other damage to inhabitants living in the vicinity of the project sites.
The Supreme Court was of the view that the governor’s decision to change the city plan could not be deemed to be going beyond the bounds of the governor’s discretionary power or constituting an abuse of such power. It was not illegal to choose the elevated structure for the railroad. By giving considerations to the findings in a survey formulated by the Ministry of Construction, the governor, after comparing three possible structures, the elevated structure, a combined structure, and the underground structure, in terms of the amount of project costs and other aspects, decided that the elevated structure was the most preferable one and found no particular problems with this structure in terms of the impact on the environment in the areas surrounding the project sites.
The governor’s determination mentioned gave due consideration to the contents of an environmental impact statement as well as environmental preservation, and was in conformity with the environmental pollution control program, and therefore could not be deemed to be lacking due consideration to sound pollution by railroad traffic. The appeal was dismissed.