Noise Regulation in Japan

I’ve always found Japan to be far noisier than the U.K, and this is something that prompted me to write Noisy Japanese Apartments, in which I listed seven causes of neighborhood noise. So while I knew Japan suffered terrible noise pollution, I never realized there were laws against it. In fact, with politicians, food trucks and biker gangs running rampant, I assumed there weren’t. That’s why it came as a surprise this week to see not one, but two court cases settled in favor of the victims of noise pollution.

The first was a complaint about a toddlers footsteps. The noise of the toddler stamping his feet in the apartment above reached 50-65 decibels.

A Tokyo court has ordered the father of a toddler to pay 360,000 yen in compensation to a neighbor after it ruled that the infant’s loud footsteps constituted noise pollution.

The second was about the noise from skateboarders and a fountain in a nearby park. The noise also measured around 60 decibels, above the metropolitan government’s acceptable rate of 50 decibels.

Kids have been banned from skateboarding and a fountain has been turned off in a suburban Tokyo park following a court ruling that they were too loud and causing a woman mental duress.

I hope the publicity given to these two cases will encourage more people to challenge neighborhood noise, but if it’s okay for politicians to make such a racket then I guess others will copy them. Fortunately, one politician is opposing the use of those noisy election campaign trucks. JapanProbe has the story: Just say NO to election campaign sound trucks!

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

8 thoughts on “Noise Regulation in Japan

  1. Umm … do you have another pen name, Nick? Simone Snaith sounds like someone from Harry Potter. Oh wait … that’s Snape 😛

    I find Japan to be a little louder than most of the places I’ve lived in Canada, but it’s not enough to warrant a lawsuit against my neighbours. It would be nice if they could keep their dogs quiet sometimes, though. It gets really annoying when the one dog barks for an hour straight because there’s a dragonfly or some such, while the other dog next door cries for attention 😕

    1. I get at least one pingback on every post, and it’s always from a scraper site like that one so I usually delete it. This is the first time I’ve been given a magical name like Simone Snaith, though.

      I agree about the dogs. I wonder what decibel level they reach?

  2. Yeah I can’t stand those trucks that politicians use when its election time! I also hate those bikers and can’t believe the police hardly ever do anything about them!

  3. Hi all,
    I was so angry at the Japanese bikers that one time I did get in my car to try and catch them. (Was not quite sure what I was going to do once I caught them haa haa haa)
    Well I finally caught up to them and to my amazement, they actually had a police car slowly in tail of them. They were going so slow that I got out of my car and asked the policeman why they were not doing anything about the ridiculous noise and the obvious disruption to the traffic behind us.
    His reply was “We really want to do something but our hands are tied!!”. I was dismayed by his reply and could not believe that the bikers (Not to be mixed up with real bikers who care about their bikes and usually ride on Sundays out on the open road and cause no harm to anyone!!) were not breaking any so-called “Noise Pollution” laws.
    I suppose when you consider that the silly and nearly senile (some are already senile) politicians make almost the same amount of noise and get away with it (Although my understanding of the law is that they can’t start until 8:00am and must finish no later than 7 or 8 pm ) it is kinda understandable why the police have their hands tied!!
    Although saying that, I ‘m sure that particular time was much later and probably around 10:00pm or so mmmmm go figure!!
    Can anyone tell my why the policeman said his hands were tied?? I would love to untie them and help out with a little bike bashing haa haa haa!!! They are crappy cheap bikes with no exhaust systems and truly need bashing!!!

    1. Nice comment Keith! Isn’t it something to do with being afraid of causing injury to minors if they tried to stop them? The bosozoku won’t turn themselves in, so the police would have to use force, and that’s where the problem lies.

      1. What you said Nick does kinda make sense in this passive country called Japan. However, the look that the policeman gave me was one of “God I would love to squeeze the living shit out of these noise polluting little #######’s “.
        I really did feel for the cop because his was genuine in saying he really wanted to do something.
        I was watching a documentary on the “great” Ieyasu and how after the battle of Sekigahara, he “Imposed” peace on the country. From that time onwards. I suspect that the use of force from the “General population” including the police, was frowned upon.
        Clarifying my comment here, obviously they forgot about that so-called passive approach during the war!!
        How do you “Impose” peace is also somewhat of a mystery!!!
        Japan has never been a country that could be easily understood from a textbook. The way they do things here sometimes has no continuity or seemingly, common-sense attached to it and that in a nutshell, is what makes this country interesting to me!! (So be it aggravating as hell at times haa haa haa!!)

        PS. just a for the record, my wife’s attitude continuously amazes me and she always tries to do the right thing and at times can be quite deep in her thoughts on how to go about doing this.
        I am amazed because most of us I believe also do this but will probably only go the first step and beyond that, will let the cards fall where they may and have the “Well at least I tried attitude!!”.
        I do think that at least with the slightly older generation of Japan, my wife’s attitude is the norm rather than the oddity!!

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