From the S&S archives:Radicals win first round in airport fight
February 24, 1971
NARITA, Japan — "Yukio Mishima loved Japan! Yukio Mishima sacrificed himself for Japan. Would you do the same?" the angry old man shouted. "Or aren't you actually turning your backs on Japan and playing China's game?"
Across the valley from the old man, nearly a thousand members of the Revolutionary Marxist Students League (Chukaku) were encamped, attempting to stall construction of the new Tokyo International Airport a few miles from Narita City and about 35 miles east of Tokyo.
"Yukio Mishima was a dirty fool," the answer floated back harshly.
"You are not fit to speak of Yukio Mishima," the old man — Bin Akao, leader of the right-wing Great Japan Patriotic Party — screamed back at them, and he went on for more than an hour, telling the students to go home.
They did not, but the more than 1,300 National and Prefectural Police and New Tokyo International Airport Corp. guards who had come to chase them away did leave.
Chiba Prefectural Governor Taketo Tomono, who Saturday had ordered police to forcibly evict the students and six farm families from land earmarked for construction of Tokyo's new international airport, called police off at mid-afternoon because of fears of violent counterattacks by the radicals and the farmers they support.
Original plans had called for police to move at daybreak on six fort and tunnel networks from which the students and farmers have vowed to fight to the death to save 33 acres of land at the northwest end of the new airport's main runway. They held off, though, as nearly 1,000 snake-dancing, chanting students prepared for battle.
At mid-morning, police reported that they had discovered 10 shotgun shells near the students' barricades. Earlier, officials had voiced fears that guns and ammunition stolen last week by an ultra-left student group had found their way into the network of tunnels at the airport site.
At 1 p.m., 20 prefectural police and airport guards marched into the valley stronghold and read an eviction notice signed by Tomono. The students replied with obscenities and indecent gestures. The police retreated.
A few moments later they once again marched into the valley and read the notice. Once more they were greeted with catcalls and once more they retreated.
Tomono ordered a halt to police operations about 3 p.m.
The attempts to oust the protestors were to continue Tuesday. Tomono has promised construction officials that the students and farmers will be gone by March 14.
Police again thwarted by students at Narita
By Jerry Van Slyke, S&S staff writerPacific edition, Thursday, February 25, 1971
NARITA, Japan — Communist students stood off police for the second straight day Tuesday in their attempt to stall construction of the new Tokyo International Airport near Narita, 35 miles from Tokyo.
Approximately 1,000 Chiba riot police and 300 airport and private agency guards confronted nearly 3,000 students, the majority from the Revolutionary Marxist Student Union (Chukaku) and the Students' 4th Communist International.
Violence erupted at 10 a.m. when a group of 15 to 20 students, allegedly from the 4th International, attacked a force of airport guards and were driven back.
Students then built fires and burned old tires causing thick clouds of black smoke to be carried by the wind into police ranks. A police mannequin which had been hung from a tower in effigy was dragged around on the ground and then thrown into a large mud puddle.
A small group of student first-aid personnel ran through a road block on a motorcycle and passed out revolutionary literature to reporters and spectators.
Airport guards made three forays against the hill held by the students in an attempt to cut trees, a bone of contention between the two sides. Twice driven back by the brick and bottle throwing students, they managed to cut down two small trees on the third attempt.
A Pacific Stars & Stripes reporter at the airport site reported Wednesday morning that 1,500 riot police were massed in Narita for possible action later in the day. Police sources declined to comment on the possibility of further violence but did say that construction of the airport would begin by March 14 "one way or another."
Narita cops confronted
Stars and StripesPacific edition, Friday, February 26, 1971
NARITA, Japan — Demonstrators confronted Chiba riot police and airport guards at the construction site of the future Tokyo International Airport for the third day in a row Wednesday.
Members of the Revolutionary Marxist Student League (Chukaku) spread pieces of scrap rubber sprinkled with gasoline in a wide arc around fortified tunnel entrances. Students were also observed making Molotov cocktails, apparently to ignite the rubber when police advanced.
During the early afternoon, students mingled with crowds of spectators and managed to flank an airport guard formation, forcing them to withdraw. A car windshield was smashed by a stray rock during the action.
Later in the afternoon, Kawame Mitsumatsu a Socialist Diet member from Chiba, was involved in a shoving incident inside the compound. He was struck in the face, his glasses were knocked off and his cheek cut.
Riot police enter Narita battle; seize 141 youths
Stars and StripesPacific edition, Saturday, February 27, 1971
TOKYO (S&S) — More than 1,000 Chiba Prefectural riot police clashed with radical students and farmers for the first time Thursday in the four-day-old battle to requisition 33 acres of land at the New Tokyo International Airport site at Narita, 35 miles east of here.
By nightfall, 141 students, members of ultra-left groups who are supporting the farmers in their fight to hold onto their land, were arrested, police said.
Twenty-nine injuries to riot police, airport guards and newsmen were reported, most of them from rocks and bottles thrown by the protestors. The protestors claimed 153 injuries and said, without elaboration, that Issaku Tomura, chairman of the Anti-Airport Farmers Union, had been hurt.
Riot police had stood on the sidelines since Monday, letting corporation and prefectural government officials and some 300 private airport guards attempt to dislodge the protestors from six fortresses and tunnel complexes in the disputed area. One of the complexes was declared secured Wednesday afternoon after corporation workers cut down nine trees at the site.
The police stormed into the area on orders Chiba Prefectural Police Chief Tsutomu Honjo, who said he ordered the action without consulting other prefectural government officials because student reaction was becoming more violent and the possibility of serious injury to elderly people and primary school students among the protesters was increasing.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo, corporation president Yoshifumi Imai apologized Thursday for an incident at the airport site construction office Wednesday in which Socialist Party Diet (parliament) member Minoru Kihara was struck in the face as he attempted to force his way into the office.
Japanese newspapers reported that Kihara had been hit by a guard after he had identified himself. Pacific Stars and Stripes reporters who witnessed the incident, however, denied that report. .
The Dietman was told by construction officials to wait at the door, but he attempted to force his way past them into the building. In the struggle with the officials — not the guards — he suffered a bloody nose.
Construction corporation officials, however, ordered the security guards not to carry their night sticks at the site. The guards have been pelted with rocks, bottles and bamboo staves since Monday and the order reportedly was issued in an attempt to head off any incidents involving the guards.
Airport truce set
Stars and StripesPacific edition, Sunday, February 28, 1971
TOKYO — An uneasy calm reigned over the New Tokyo International Airport construction site at Narita, 35 miles east of here, Saturday as riot police, construction corporation officials, ultra-left students and farmers began the first day of a two-day, government-ordered truce in the five-day-old battle to requisition 33 acres of land to complete the airport construction.
Chiba Prefectural Governor Taketo Tomono ordered the truce Friday, saying that both sides were fatigued from five days of fighting and the rest was necessary:
Corporation officials launched only one attempt Friday to dislodge the students and farmers from their tunnel strongholds.
The operation will be resumed Monday morning.