Dear President Bach,
We admire and respect the IOC’s approval of Japan’s decision to review a plan to build the New National Stadium and its decision to closely watch the future development regarding the plan. Your decision, reflecting the IOC’s principle placing great importance on sustainability, has given us confidence in our activities.
We are residents of Tokyo’s Kasumigaoka public apartment complex. Since we unexpectedly received notification in July 2012 that we need to move out of our home due to the reconstruction of the National Stadium for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we have been in constant anxiety and pain. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japan Sport Council (JSC) have unilaterally sent us the notification and only explained about possible sites for us to move in. They have not tried to listen to our desire that we want to keep living in the current area where we have friends and we are strongly attached to.
We sent a statement to Tokyo Governor Masuzoe Yoichi three times in July 2014, February 2015, and June 2015, calling on him to give us a reasonable explanation. However, we have not received any answer.
The Kasumigaoka public apartment complex was built as part of the development related to the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. People who moved into the complex were those who had to move out of their previous place because of the development. For 50 years since then, the residents of Kasumigaoka Town have built their own community, helped each other, and lived together. With the pressured feeling that they have no choice but to move out eventually, many of the residents made a heartbreaking decision to accept an early relocation request. As a result, the number of households in the Kasumigaoka complex has reduced from 300 to 140.
When Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced on July 17 that the plan to build the New National Stadium goes back to the drawing board, we had a hope that we can stay in our home. However, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government changed its explanation and it now says that the closure of the Kasumigaoka apartment complex is not related to the Olympics but is based on Tokyo’s redevelopment plan. It urges us to move out by January 2016, the coldest season in Japan.
Kasumigaoka residents are about to be forced to move out of their home again for the Olympics. Many of the residents are old. To change their living environment will give them heavy burdens mentally and physically. Not only that, decent living conditions are not considered in possible relocation sites as they do not have enough space for us to receive nursery services or to install furniture or belongings we have used for a long time. Our right to live are being threatened.
As the national government has decided to review the planned construction of the National Stadium, we demand that the planned closure of the Kasumigaoka apartment complex also return to square one.
We call for a negotiation table to be set up to sincerely explore possible ways to maintain the Kasumigaoka apartment complex.
If the construction of the New National Stadium destroys the community of us residents who have lived in the area for a long time and infringes on our right to live, it will not only give us tremendous hardships but also go against the Olympic Spirit that values the “Preservation of Human Dignity.”
We hope that Olympics Minister Endo and Tokyo Governor Masuzoe take this opportunity to listen to the voice of Kasumigaoka residents and come up with a new plan to allow the elderly residents to keep living in the environment where they are attached to. We believe it will become a model of the Olympic legacy.
Please convey your fair opinion in accordance with Olympic Agenda 2020 to Olympics Minister Endo Toshiaki and Tokyo Governor Masuzoe Yoichi.
Residents of Kasumigaoka public apartment complex