A garbage-disposal association filed a request with Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara on Wednesday calling for the city to order residents of Hinodemachi, western Tokyo, to vacate land allocated to expand a garbage dump.
Residents opposing the construction are refusing to leave the site and the Tokyo government may execute the order this fall. It would be the first time a local government has expropriated land for a waste-disposal site.
The city will issue orders for the residents to leave the site, which would be followed by an expropriation notice should they not leave. The final timing of the expropriation would be decided by the governor, officials said.
At the center of the controversy is the Futatsuzuka waste-disposal site, a publicly run dump. It was to be filled in three stages, but the second phase of the construction has been stalled due to residents’ resistance.
Opponents claim environmental degradation, such as water pollution, will result if the expansion of the site proceeds as planned. The association, which covers cities and towns in the Tama district of western Tokyo, says the present dump will be filled to capacity by the end of 2002, and because construction of the second stage of the project would take roughly two years, it can wait no longer.
Ownership of the 460 sq. meters of land, which had initially been placed in trust in the name of roughly 2,800 residents, was transferred to the association in March after a metropolitan government committee decided to expropriate the land after receiving an appeal from the association in 1996.
Opponents of the expansion project picket the site and have built protest structures, including a makeshift stage and tower.