Episode 309 – Flying High

This week: the battle against the construction of a new international airport in Chiba prefecture. Who fought against the airport, why, and how did it all go so very wrong?


Bowen, Rodger Wilson. “The Narita Conflict.” Asian Survey 15, No 7 (July, 1975)

Apter, David E. When Parties Fail: Emerging Alternative Organizations

Apter, David E. Against the State: Politics and Social Protest in Japan.


The Shounen Kodotai (Middle School Action Corps) of the HD.
Tomura Issai, the leader of the HD.
Gear and weapons worn by those who fought against the airport.
Anti-airport protestors clash with police.
It’s not great but this was the best shot I could find of the land clearing battles of 1971.
Opposition against Narita remains; the HD actually still has a website (though it’s very out of date) and you occasionally see signs like this billboard (which says something like “don’t throw us out”).


2 thoughts on “Episode 309 – Flying High”

  1. 1. This story reminds me a little bit over the conflict over Dulles Airport. The Eisenhower Administration had picked a spot in Northern Virginia in a town called Burke. The community there had managed to organize and actually fought off the construction of the airport. Instead the government selected a town called Willard, Virginia. While fewer people and farms were effected by the section of Willard that town was actually founded after the Civil War by freed slaves. Meanwhile the government had managed to take some land in Burke via eminent domain so they returned it to the county which converted into a local park.

    2. Was the protest movement the reason why there is no Shinkansen service to Narita or was something like that just not in the cards? Also, were there any other demonstrations over infrastructure projects during this period, such as anti-Shinkansen activism?

    1. I’m had no idea about the story behind Dulles. It’s hard to imagine such a fixture of DC not having always been there.

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