A group of people opposed to the razing of Empress Michiko’s former home filed a provisional injunction Friday with the Tokyo District Court, requesting that the government halt the demolition.

The injunction, filed by seven members of the group, claims they have a right to protect local cultural assets.

The 70-year-old, mock-Tudor wooden house is in Shinagawa Ward.

Speaking outside the home, Ikuo Sumi, head of the group, said the decision to seek the injunction was made because the Finance Ministry has shown no willingness to discuss the matter.

“We decided to settle the matter in court,” Sumi said.

Preparation for the demolition, which began Thursday, meanwhile continued Friday.

The building was handed over to the Finance Ministry in 1999 in lieu of an inheritance tax payment after the death of the Empress’s father, Hidesaburo Shoda.

After razing the house, the ministry plans to sell the land to Shinagawa Ward in line with the local government’s plan to create a park there.

In early November, the Imperial Household Agency said the Empress did not want the home preserved. Nevertheless, many local residents have protested the demolition work.

After the residents filed the provisional injunction, Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said: “I understand the points made by the residents. But it would not be a good idea to be selfish.”

The Empress, the wife of Emperor Akihito, was born in October 1934 as Michiko Shoda. The Shoda family founded Nisshin Flour Milling Co., now Nisshin Seifun Group Inc., in 1907.

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