Tokyo is very proud to have won the rights to host the 2020 Olympics, but alongside this privilege is the probability that the residents of Japan’s capital city will be drastically affected by changes they will be making in the next few years. Among those are the mostly elderly residents of several apartment complexes near the National Stadium, which will be demolished by 2018.
One of the apartment complexes that will be affected is the Kasumigaoka Apartments, which has around 370 residents that are 65 years old and older, comprising 60% of the occupants. In fact, one of the couples who will be displaced will be having a sense of deja vu: they were also experienced forced eviction during the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Now 86-year-old Toshiko Shibasaki and her husband, who was actually manager of the complex at that time, moved into the complex after they got married. Around that time, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government started replacing older buildings near the National Stadium, rebuilding them to a more modern style.
But seven years from now, another Olympics will be held, and once again, the lives of the residents near the stadium, especially the elderly, will be affected. There was strong opposition when residents were first informed of the possible demolition. But now protest has given way to resignation. Shibasaki said, “There’s no point in resisting.” Even if the government has said they will assist in the relocation, most likely to the Shibuya and Shinjuku wards, she has not filed for a relocation request. “Moving house is hard. I want to keep living here as long as possible,” she says.
80-year-old Kohei Jinno is familiar with the sentiment, as he is also facing his second eviction because of the Olympics. He said that the government should look into just using existing facilities instead of building new ones and letting people like him suffer for it. Junichi Inoue, 68, and head of the local neighbourhood association said that he is still negotiating with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government over how the process would be for relocating elderly residents. But this is something that breaks his, and other residents’ hearts. “In their hearts, the residents don’t want to move. But if they resist, they’ll be told, ‘It’s the nation’s policy’ and will be driven out anyway,” he shares, saying that they already have strong community ties that they will not be able to find elsewhere.
[ via Mainichi ]