70-year-old landowner arrested…Taxpayers’ money invested in bizarre sign protecting Hasaki Seaside “40,000 yen toll area” in Ibaraki, Japan. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

70-year-old landowner arrested…Taxpayers’ money invested in bizarre sign protecting Hasaki Seaside “40,000 yen toll area” in Ibaraki, Japan.

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Signs warning of entry lined up more than 300 meters before the “Road Closed” sign erected at the far end of the road.

A large number of signs lined up in just a few hundred meters. As we proceeded deeper and reached a dead end, we were met with the following statement.

If you enter without permission, you will be charged 40,000 yen.

On December 5, the Kamisu Police Department arrested a 70-year-old man from Kamisu City, Ibaraki Prefecture, on suspicion of injury to a 43-year-old man over a dispute on private property on the Hasaki Seaside Road, which runs along the Pacific Ocean in Kamisu City.

On November 8, a dispute arose on the street in front of the 70-year-old man’s house over whether or not he should pay money, and the 43-year-old man was standing in front of the car, so the police suspect that he sped off the car and hit the man. The victim, who suffered a broken hip bone and other serious injuries that will take up to two months to heal, reported the incident to the police. The arrested man, on the other hand, has remained silent.

The Hasaki Seaside Road was opened to traffic in 1970 in conjunction with the development of the Kashima seaside industrial zone. It was followed by a “standoff” between the municipality and an individual that continues to this day.’ In 1996, the father of the man arrested in this case filed a lawsuit claiming that the Seaside Road ran over his private property. The father’s side won the case, and Kamisu City recognized the blocked road as private property and installed signs to prevent entry. The arrested man, who had not held a regular job since he was young, monitored entrants from a hut on his private property. Initially, he collected a toll fee of 500 yen and 10,000 yen from unauthorized passersby, but the fee later jumped to 40,000 yen. One Kamisu city council member revealed, “This man has been arrested in the past.

This man has been arrested in the past. He once fired a harpoon attached to an underwater gun at an acquaintance. He is usually quiet, but when he drinks alcohol, he changes. We built a lot of signs on that road to prevent tourists from entering by mistake and getting into trouble like this one, mostly paid for by taxpayers.”

Kamisu City Hall officials, who are trying to work toward a solution, lamented, “The landowner’s private land is privately owned.

Even if we tried to negotiate to buy the landowner’s private property, there is too much of a gap between our appraisal and the landowner’s demands, so we cannot discuss the matter.”

According to one theory, Kamisu City’s appraisal value is 10 million yen, while the amount demanded is 40 million yen. Will the day ever come when the “Heisei no Kanjo” (barrier of the Heisei era) opens?

A tourist who came to fish in the nearby sea once paid 40,000 yen when he could no longer stand to use the restroom and passed through.

From the December 30, 2022 issue of “FRIDAY

  • Interview and text by Kumiko Kato PHOTO Hiroto Kato

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