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Our Activity:Visit to the Narita Airport and Community Hirstorical Museum

On Saturday, January 27, 2024, a group of 10 individuals, including members of the NPO Fukushima Dialogue and concerned persons, visited the Narita Airport and Community Hirstorical Museum.

Since the decision of Narita Airport’s inception by the Cabinet in 1966, there has been an extended period of conflict between local residents who opposed the airport’s construction and the national government, along with the Airport Authority. A significant turning point in this conflict was the onset of the Narita Airport Problem Symposium in 1991. After two years of negotiations between the government and the residents who were against the airport, facilitated by a third-party committee, the government retracted its expropriation request and declared a clean slate for the second phase of the airport’s development.

In the wake of the symposium, the Narita Airport Round Table Conference was convened, involving nearby municipalities and local residents, to discuss the future of the region. This led to the creation of the Narita Airport Regional Symbiosis Committee, dedicated to fostering a harmonious coexistence between the airport and the local area. This committee is actively continuing its mission today as the Narita Airport Regional Symbiosis and Mutual Prosperity Council.

The Narita Airport case has been instructive for the future of Fukushima, which faces long-term challenges with decommissioning and waste management, particularly in considering how to engage with the government/airport operators and the local community in the decision-making process.

We extend our gratitude to the Narita Airport and Community Historical Museum, to Mr. Itabashi, our commentator, and to Mr. Hiromichi Ishige, a former member of Hantai-Domei, the group of the opposition residents, for their generous assistance. Listening to the recollections of these two individuals, who were once adversaries during the Narita conflict, speak amicably about their experiences was immensely enlightening for us.

It was also encouraging to learn that the efforts of the Regional Symbiosis and Mutual Prosperity Council have been ongoing for an extended period and that the relationship between Narita Airport and the local community has improved significantly. We have the utmost respect for the dedication and passion of everyone involved and hope to gain significant insights from this experience.