Most people have heard of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian refugee who was forced to live in the departure lounge of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 until 2006. His story was made into a book and then the 2004 Tom Hanks movie The Terminal. This is not that story.
Instead, this is set in Japan about a very different man. One I am almost certain I taxied right past in one of my trips to Japan.
Takao Shito is a farmer living in the Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Unlike other farmers who left when the airport was built in the 1960s, he chose to stay and continue to cultivate his farmland. He’s been offered the equivalent of $1.5 million USD – but refuses to leave the land his family farmed for 100 years. It’s a rare an interesting view into land rights disputes and Japanese culture.
And when I say he lives right in the middle of the airport – I mean it. Here you can see the red spot exactly where his farm is located on the north end of the terminals right between the terminals and runway 34R.