world : Newly-Built Tokyo Apartments to Be Torn Down for Blocking Views of Mt. Fuji

Wednesday 12 June 2024 11:00 PM

Nafeza 2 world - Updated: June 12, 2024 7:00 AM EDT | Originally published: June 12, 2024 2:30 AM EDT

A newly constructed residential building in suburban Tokyo will be pulled down the month before the apartments were due to be handed over to buyers, after incensed locals complained the structure blocked their views of Mt. Fuji.

The 10-story apartment building on Fujimi Street—which translates to ‘Fuji view’—in the suburb of Kunitachi is comprised of 18 housing units, which range in price from around ¥70 million to ¥100 million ($445,000 to $636,000), according to the builder Sekisui House Ltd.

The firm issued an apology on Tuesday saying the building has a “significant impact” on the landscape.

“We concluded that the view from Fujimi Street should take priority. We have voluntarily decided to cancel the project,” it said in a statement on its website.

The company will compensate buyers’ costs and help arrange other housing for them if necessary, a spokesperson told Bloomberg News. Any financial loss on the soon-to-be-demolished building wasn’t disclosed.

Views of Mt. Fuji, a Unesco World Heritage Site, are a real estate selling point in Japan. ‘Fujimi’ is a common term that can be used to label anything from streets to apartment blocks to a whole city, usually advertising a view of the landmark. Kunitachi was selected in a government guide for the region’s 100 best Fuji viewing spots.

The building impeded the view of the mountain from the local train station, according to a post on X by Kan Takeuchi, an associate professor at Hitotsubashi University, which has a campus in Kunitachi.

While views of the iconic mountain are highly valued by Japanese people, the right of tourists to see them have recently been the subject of debate. The nation is experiencing a tourism boom due to the weak yen and post-pandemic urge to travel, and locals have been complaining that visitors are causing disruption at popular Mt. Fuji viewing sites.

In May, local authorities in the holiday town of Fujikawaguchiko put up an opaque barrier at a remote convenience store with a backdrop of Mt. Fuji. The site was being swarmed by photo-hungry tourists looking for the perfect Instagram shot. A second barrier was also installed recently at an overpass with a similarly photogenic view in Fuji City.

Sekisui House hasn’t released future plans for the Kunitachi site.

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