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   WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE YOCHOMACHI CITIZENS' LIVING ENVIRONMENT STUDY GROUP

 

 

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Welcome! This is the website of the Yochomachi Citizens’ Living Environment Study Group (Ju-Kankyo wo Kangaeru Kai). We are a group of concerned citizens living in the Yochomachi area of Shinjuku City (Shinjuku-ku) who are protesting against the planned construction of a gargantuan 112-room studio apartment building in our quiet family-oriented neighborhood. We have approached the developer Tokyu Land Corp. (Tokyu Fudosan) regarding the issues that concern us, however we have yet to receive any answers that would alleviate our anxiety. In fact, their responses thus far have been a whole lot of nothing.

 

Overwhelming size: The planned building takes advantage of a loophole in the Japanese building code that allows the basement area to be left out of size calculations. This trick enables them to construct a building with a volume (floor-area ratio) of 240% whereas normally the maximum allowed in this neighborhood is 160%. But is this basement really a basement? This plot of land is inclined from front to back, so while the back side of the building would be “under ground level”, the front side of the building is on the same level as the street it faces. Both entrances to this building would be on the “basement floor”.The result is a gigantic 5-story building that dwarfs all of its neighbors, using every centimeter of allowable space, thereby putting it within 50cm to 100cm of some of its neighbors.

 

Social issues; Out of the 112 apartment units, 83 units are “studio apartments” (under 29 m2) according to law, 18 units are slightly larger studio apartments, and 11 units are “family type apartments” ” (39 m2 and above) according to law. This implies that hundreds of single tenants will be moving here, into a family-oriented neighborhood, and we are concerned that this demographic change could lead to a rise in the crime rate. Keep in mind that Yochomachi is every close to Kabukicho, so one can easily imagine that a great number of new tenants would be Kabukicho’s night workers. Loud partying and unruly behavior are bound the become problems, but by that time Tokyu will have sold the building so it will be impossible to hold them accountable. Yes, they have stated for the record that they will sell the building after completion, meaning this whole project is nothing more than a money-grab for them.

 

Compliance and responsibility: Tokyu’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is comprised of “abiding by the law”. Nothing more. When asked questions like “why do you only have 1 parking space?” “Why is the garbage storage room so small?” or “Why are there only 11 family-type rooms?”, they have all been answered by “because that is the minimum required by law”. Tokyu’s assertion is that the building is perfectly legal, and therefore they have every right to build it. We, however, are concerned that this building, and the policies that led to its design, have inherent flaws that will lead to friction between new tenants and neighborhood residents in the future. For example: Only 1 parking space = illegal parking on the street.

 

Safety concerns: We are worried about the safety of our children. With inadequate safety measures, such a gigantic building could easily become a nest for crime. What about trouble between tenants? Can order be maintained? Another concern is the ridiculous construction plan they have outlined, including sending 30 trucks (7-ton) through these narrow streets each day. Tokyu has stated that they will be working on site from 8AM to 8PM, with an hour before and after for set-up and clean-up. They also will be working full day on Saturdays, disrupting our precious weekends. We think this type of behavior is inexcusable for a major corporation such as Tokyu.

 

The list goes on and on. That is why we are sacrificing our time and effort to STOP Tokyu from constructing this apartment building based on their current plans. We strongly urge them to re-think their plans, giving due consideration to the preexisting neighborhood community.

 

 The residents of Yochomachi are serious!

 

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