Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa on Tuesday rejected calls to preserve the former Tokyo home of Empress Michiko, wife of Emperor Akihito, and said it will be torn down as scheduled.

“We have no plans to preserve it,” Shiokawa said when asked if there was any change in the ministry’s decision to raze the house and auction off the land. “We have no plans to make an exception.”

Residents living near the house in Shinagawa Ward say the building once owned by the Shoda family deserves preservation as a valuable building. The house has been acquired by the government in lieu of an inheritance tax payment.

Asked what he would do in similar cases in the future, Shiokawa said that if there are calls for preservation in the assessment process before a legal decision is made, he would be willing to consider them.

“But there were no such opinions in this case,” he said, “so we will proceed according to rules.”

A list prepared almost 25 years ago by the Architectural Institute of Japan names the house among a group of high-quality historic buildings, the residents say, adding that it was cited as a building of particularly significant architectural value.

The Empress was born in October 1934 as Michiko Shoda, a daughter of Hidesaburo Shoda. The Shoda family founded Nisshin Flour Milling Co., Japan’s largest flour miller, in 1907. The company is currently called Nisshin Seifun Group Inc.

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