Most travellers to Tokyo would be oblivious to the years of conflict surrounding Narita International Airport. But for the local farmers the battle to save their land from becoming a runway is still going on.
Back in the 1960s Japan was growing rapidly and the farmland at Narita, 60 kilometres north of Tokyo, seemed a good choice for a large international airport. But the planners severely underestimated the determination of the farmers. As the years dragged on students, housewives and anarchists joined the farmers and there have been many battles with the police. Noriko Ishii was a university student drawn into the protests “I felt it was unreasonable for the farmers to be kicked off their land — because they worked very hard growing rice and vegetables.” Today 60% of Japans international flights use Narita but only one runway can be used for large jets all because 8 landowners refuse to sell.