With the controversial opening of Tokyo's new Narita Airport now only ten days away, there have been a number of demonstrations and public meetings called to protest against it.
With the controversial opening of Tokyo's new Narita Airport now only ten days away, there have been a number of demonstrations and public meetings called to protest against it. On Sunday (7 May), more than 7-thousand people gathered in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park to emphasise their opposition to the long-delayed opening, now scheduled for 20 May.
SYNOPSIS: The protest meeting drew strong support, and some hours before it was due to get underway, a crowd of about seven thousand people had gathered in Yoyogi Park, equipped with banners, flags and protective clothing. The police were out in force, and most of the demonstrators were searched for weapons. The main speaker was the Chairman of the Anti-Narita Protesters Association, Issaku Tomura.
The theme of his speech was predictable: Narita must be destroyed, flights from the new airport must not be allowed to begin. Some of the group's plans were also made public. They are suggesting sending balloons up into flight paths, disrupting traffic on the runways and attacking fuel storage facilities.
At the close of the Yoyogi Park rally, the Anti-Narita demonstrators formed into a long column for a march through the streets of Tokyo. Three-thousand riot police were on hand to keep the peace, but there was very little trouble from the marchers, predominantly leftists. At times, the column looked menacing, but apart from one radical group which stoned six policemen and a journalist, the protesters kept within the law.
With the opening of Narita only days away, police are bracing themselves for more virulent demonstrations in and around Tokyo.