Urgent Statement Condemning the eviction of Mr. Takao Shito from his farmland
Sanrizuka-Shibayama United Opposition League against Construction of the Airport
February 16, 2023.
The Sanrizuka-Shibayama United Opposition League against Construction of the Airport strongly condemns the violent eviction that destroyed and robbed the farmland and buildings of our member Takao Shito, as well as the tower and signs owned by the League.
The Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA) and Chiba Prefectural Police’s riot unit have taken away with physical violence Mr. Shito’s habitat and land, which his family has cultivated since his grandparent’s generation for 100 years and yields a bountiful harvest. They have also destroyed the tower and signs that have shown farmers’ unyielding will to fight against the state brutality to construct airport for nearly 60 years. We will never forgive the NAA, the police and Chiba District Court, which legal-washed their criminal act.
On February 15, the NAA and the police riot unit carried out this enforcement action at night in a despicable manner, like a nighttime burglary. This shows how unjust and anti-people this enforcement measure is.
Late last year, the NAA stated its intention to enforce compulsory seizure under court order. The Opposition League, determined to take on the enemy assault, created a decisive fighting structure, and has continued to block enforcement through daily sit-ins, protests, and gathering signatures on street against the planned seizure. Being afraid of people’s struggle, the NAA and the state power resorted to trickery, their usual tactic in the construction of Narita Airport.
Upon receiving the news of the “enforcement on February 15,” the League and its supporters gathered and prepared the counteraction from early morning on the same day. The number of supporters exceeded 100, and as the sun was setting, everyone thought that there would be no enforcement on that day, and many of them started to head home. However, at 8:00 p.m., when darkness fell, hundreds of the police with riot gear—helmets, shields, batons, pistols, and even water cannons—appeared, blocked the road in front of Shito’s house, and rushed into his fields, workshop, and detached house, and surrounded them with iron fences.
On that news, however, the League’s supporters rapidly came back. Once again, 100 people gathered there, stood arm-in-arm, confronting the police. But the riot police used their concentrated force to remove the League and the supports one by one and heavy machinery entered the fields and yard to destroy and rob them.
Where is a “rule of law”! Where is a “democracy”, “protection of people’s lives and livelihoods”! What has actually taken place in this enforcement action is the destruction of the life and livelihood of a farmer by a blatant and brutal state force, a very robbery.
Why has the state power, the NAA and the court decided to carry out the violent seizure, breaching their promise of “no forcible measures”? The bent taxiway cannot be straightened by this land seizure. Passenger numbers have plummeted because of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are no economic reasons for this forcible eviction.
The real reason of it is the necessity to crush the League and its supporters, which has been violently fighting state power, calling the Narita Airport “a military airfield”, while the U.S. and Japanese governments are accelerating their push for aggressive war on China since the outbreak of the Ukraine war. The CSIS, U.S. imperialist think tank, recently published The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan, which reads, “Although local political opposition may obstruct peacetime and possibly wartime access to Japanese civilian airports, the significant payoff justifies a strong effort.”
The Japanese government evicted a farmer from his land in the name of “national policy,” “national interest.” The war is a continuation of such politics. Now is the time to shout more loudly than ever the slogan, which the opposition alliance has advocated from the outset of our struggle, “Smash the Narita Military Airport!”
The League and its supporters shared Mr. Shito’s raging fury throughout the night, confronting the riot police blockade line that attempted to seize the farmland and engaging in a fierce battle on the tower and the rooftops of the detached house. From the young students to the older generations in their 70s engaged in the action and strengthened their solidarity. The common motto of the Sanrizuka Struggle, “Defend farmland to the death! Hold firm! Direct action!” has been consolidated. Let’s take back three students who were unjustly arrested immediately!
They forcefully executed the eviction. Nevertheless, the League and supporters are getting stronger, and the justice of the Sanrizuka struggle is shining brighter and brighter. The League fiercely denounces the latest outrage of the state power and the NAA and is determined to continue to fight until the airport is closed. We will defend Mr. Shito’s farm and livelihood and pledge to fight until we get back the farmland that was taken away from him.
— 三里塚芝山連合空港反対同盟 (@sanrizukadoumei) February 18, 2023