Near-finished Japan condo blocking Mount Fuji to be razed

A property firm in Tokyo has decided to demolish a near-complete block of flats after neighbours complained that it blocked the view of Mount Fuji (Richard A. Brooks)
A property firm in Tokyo has decided to demolish a near-complete block of flats after neighbours complained that it blocked the view of Mount Fuji (Richard A. Brooks)

A Japanese property developer has decided to demolish a near-complete, 10-storey condominium in Tokyo after pushback from neighbours who said it blocked a view of Mount Fuji.

The company Sekisui House said in a statement late Tuesday it had "voluntarily decided to discontinue the project".

"There is no denying that the current situation has an enormous impact on the landscape. We have decided to prioritise the view from the road," it said.

The recently built apartments are in part of western Tokyo famous for its picturesque views of Japan's highest mountain, which appears to soar into the sky from the end of the road named Fujimi or "Fuji Viewing" street.

But the tall new block spoils this effect because it obstructs half of the majestic active volcano.

Construction went ahead despite protests by residents proud of the street's scenery, and tenants had been due to move into the condo in Tokyo's Kunitachi district next month.

Then -- in a shock move -- developer Sekisui House recently put up a notice saying the complex would be demolished.

There was nothing illegal about the construction process, Sekisui House said Tuesday, but "our consideration of long-distance views of Mount Fuji has been insufficient".

For some residents, the decision was welcome news.

"We didn't want to lose the appeal of our town, where on a sunny day you have a clear view of Mount Fuji," one local told broadcaster TBS.

The debacle is not the only recent flashpoint around views of Mount Fuji, which is covered in snow most of the year but attracts hundreds of thousands of climbers in the summer.

More casual and sometimes ill-mannered tourists are also flocking to surrounding areas to snap Instagram-perfect pictures of the 3,776-metre (12,388-foot) peak -- testing the patience of locals.

An exasperated Japanese town took the rare step last month of deliberately blocking a view of Mount Fuji with a large black barrier in a bid to deter photo-hungry tourists.

tmo/kaf/mtp