Niseko resident Yamada Yuriko has launched an online petition to save Niseko’s natural beauty, in which he pleads with Niseko Town authorities not to “let investors and speculators turn Niseko into an unrecognizable shadow of its former self” or to let “the once beautiful scenery of Niseko come to resemble a shopping mall”.

The petition, which was published on Monday 24 February, also calls for residents to stop and think about “kinds of regulations and innovations can we propose that will allow for economic growth while safeguarding the natural beauty and environment”.

At the time of writing the petition had 96 signatures, with some people leaving messages of support on the page. “I live in Niseko and what’s happening is a crime”, said one person, with another saying that “Niseko is already packed”.

The areas surrounding Niseko United ski resort have become a hotbed for investment in recent times, with several high-profile properties opening this season and many more in the works.

Property prices have increased dramatically. An article published by TTG Asia in 2019 noted that Niseko had become “Asia’s fastest appreciating resort real estate market”, with “premium pricing levels in prime projects attain levels of US$15-20,000 per square metre”.

It is not the first time that there has been concern expressed about the over development in the region. In 2017, Nisade president Jonathan Martin penned an article in Powderlife, pondering whether or not Niseko could keep up with such a rapid rate of growth. In the the article, he noted that water, electricity and sewage were already at 80% capacity, and that traffic flow volumes would always be a challenge.

He wrote: “Every year it [Niseko] changes and every year the changes get faster, to the point where I do wonder if Niseko as an area can indeed keep up.”

“As developers, we comply with the building laws and the zoning regulations so we are entitled to build, but without comprehensive town planning every new building stresses the system and people.”

To sign Yamada Yuriko’s petition, click here.