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Tokyo Residents Seek to Block Building of Massive Data Center

Editor

Laila Afifa

10 July 2024 21:49 WIB

Miniature National Stadium, which is the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, is seen in a 1: 1000 scale version of Tokyo at the Mori Building Urban Lab in Tokyo, Japan, April 26, 2021. The miniature city was first inaugurated in 2019. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon

TEMPO.CO, Tokyo - A group of residents in Tokyo said on Wednesday, July 10, they were aiming to block the construction of a massive logistics and data center planned by Singaporean developer GLP, in a worrying sign for businesses looking to Japan to meet growing demand.

The petition by more than 220 residents of Akishima city in western Tokyo follows a successful bid in December in Nagareyama city to quash a similar data center plan.

The Akishima residents were concerned the center would threaten wildlife, cause pollution and a spike in electricity usage, and drain its water supply which comes solely from groundwater.

They filed a petition to audit the urban planning procedure that approved GLP's 3.63-million-megawatt data center, which GLP estimated would likely emit about 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.

"One company will be responsible for ruining Akishima. That's what this development is," Yuji Ohtake, a representative of the residents' group, told a press conference.

Global tech firms such as Microsoft (MSFT.O), Amazon (AMZN.O), and Oracle (ORCL.N), also have plans to build data centers in Japan.

The residents estimated that 3,000 of 4,800 trees on the site would have to be cut down, threatening the area's Eurasian goshawk birds and badgers.

"It's an unbelievably negligent plan," said representative Hiroyuki Hasegawa.

The group was considering filing for arbitration to steer GLP towards reconsidering its plan, in which it is set to commence building in February, with completion by early 2029.

GLP declined to comment on the residents' actions.

Japan's data center market is expected to grow 10.8% in 2027 and 7.6% in 2028 amid demand from digital transformation and cloud services, according to real estate services firm Jones Lang Lasalle.

In 2023, Japan saw a record 112 billion yen ($694 million) direct investment into data center real estate, JLL's data showed.

Local opposition has also been growing over the construction of a data center in Kashiwa city near Tokyo.

($1 = 161.3600 yen)

REUTERS

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