2008 Volume 20 Pages 59-74
This study examines the changes in a regional community, in the context of the Tama New Town (NT) development project, with regard to the space that mediates between political and economic structures and residents’ lives. Hence, we tried to reconsider the development project. We focused on (1) the proposal to purchase all the land in the project area based on ‘The New Residential Town Development Law’, (2) the policy of recruiting retired farmers, (3) the land readjustment project and (4) the stoppage of residential construction, which resulted in a dispute between administrative machineries.
We examined the life of a farmer, who had retired from farming and had become a shopkeeper in the NT shopping district. He changed his position from that of an opponent to the development to that of an agent between the developers and the local community. The construction of this NT was halted from 1971 to 1974. Although this affected the shopkeepers’ lives, the Japan Housing Corporation did not compensate them for their losses. Thereafter, the development agencies formulated certain policies that were disadvantageous for their shopping district. Shopkeepers struggled to retain their shops using many political means; however, they were forced to shut them down. The shopkeeper said, ‘This experimental city has been constructed over the sacrifice of farmers.
Plan and Reality of Local Development (1965) found that the development of ‘New Industrial Cities’ deprived farmers of their land, dissolved their community, and was built at the cost of their lives. Further, the industrial cities caused a lot of pollution and a shortage of housing—typical urban crises. Thus, the Japanese NT was merely ‘New Cultural Cities’ developed as yet another attempt towards concealing these contradictions of capitalism, and it reproduced the national labour-power appropriately. However, it also deprived farmers of land and dissolved their community.