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Japan farmer ends holdout, sells land for 2nd runway

After holding out for more than 30 years, a Japanese farmer signed a contract Thursday to sell property sitting in the middle of a proposed second runway at Tokyo's crowded main international airport.

"I decided to start a new life, because I'm over 60 and I can't continue farming any more," said a statement released by Toshinobu Kato, 63, who sold 8.4 acres of farmland. "I do have uncertainties, but I want to live peacefully with my family."Kato, who had been growing potatoes and carrots, said farming grew difficult because his wife has been ill since last year.

His decision to sell now leaves five farmers holding land essential to building the runway. Of those, three have yet to agree to negotiate with authorities. Another two have agreed to negotiate but have not reached agreement with airport officials.

Farmers have opposed the airport in Narita, 40 miles east of Tokyo, since the government announced without consulting them in 1966 that it would be constructed. The facility opened with a single runway in 1978.