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Zushi Green Movement against US military housing at Ikego Heights, Japan

Residents of Zushi have been protesting the planning and construction of US military base family housing in Ikego forest for over 30 years in one of the longest ongoing cases of grassroots environmental movements in post-war Japan.


In the late 1970s the Japanese government made an agreement with the US government to build an elite family housing complex in Ikego forest for US naval families working at the military base. The US government had requested this area on the outskirts of Zushi city due to its moderate isolation and calmness. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Zushi Green Movement against US military housing at Ikego Heights, Japan
State or province:Kanagawa Prefecture
Location of conflict:Zushi
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Military installations
Urban development conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

854 housing units were approved to be built in 1994 and the construction was completed in 1998 [4]. The housing complex was built on the promise that there would be no expansions after this initial project. However, in 2003 800 additional housing units were proposed.

Project area:288
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:58,000
Start of the conflict:01/08/1982
Relevant government actors:Japanese Central Government
US Government
Zushi City Government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Association for the Protection of Nature and Children (APNC)
Ikego Green Operation Centre (IGOC)
Association to stop the US residential construction and to protect Ikego Forest
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project went ahead despite resistance.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Jain, P. (1991). Green Politics and Citizen Power in Japan: The Zushi Movement. Asian Survey, 31(6), 559-575. doi:10.2307/2645083

[3] Chikaraishi, S. (1986). The zushi alternative for U.S. military housing. Japan Quarterly, 33(3), 257. Retrieved from

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] News article: Zushi residents up in arms over more US military housing
[click to view]

[4] Wikipedia page: Zushi
[click to view]

[2] News article: Japan contest: housewives vs. U.S. navy housing
[click to view]

[7] News article: US agrees to return Japanese land, limit new housing in Ikego
[click to view]

[6] News article: The struggle to save Ikego forest
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Mariko Takedomi Karlsson, [email protected], research intern at EnvJustice
Last update17/10/2017
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