A control tower that has become a symbol of the protest movement against Narita Airport, in Tokyo, Japan, is to be demolished. The airport was opposed by local farmers, students and political movements from its announcement in 1966, and some of the protests resulted in violent clashes with police. It was recently announced that the former control tower will be demolished in 2018. Back in March 1978 it was raided by protesters who then occupied it and succeeded in delaying opening of the airport for three months. Resistance to the airport continues to this day, with some disputed strips of land blocking plans for a third runway.
Narita Airport is currently swamped on a daily basis with international arrivals as Japan, especially Tokyo, enjoys unprecedented numbers of foreign tourists, a trend which is surely going to roll on until the 2020 Olympics. In spring 2015, the airport generated much fanfare when it opened a new low-cost carrier terminal fitted out with a funky “running track” interior design. How many of those arriving or departing from the now hip and bustling Narita are aware of the blood and tears that lie beneath its tarmac is debatable, though a documentary film released in 2014 has returned the remarkable story of the campaigning farmers and their various student and other allies to the public eye to a certain extent.
It is now fifty years since the government finalised its decision to build an international airport in the Sanrizuka area of Chiba. Take a walk around the airport and you…
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