New parking restrictions will be imposed on residents of Akari, a coastal town north of Tokyo, in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
The government has said the restrictions will cost the economy up to ¥20 billion ($260 million) a year, but the price tag is far higher than previous plans.
A proposal by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in 2014 for an annual cost of ¥60 billion ($100 million) for a one-year, nationwide crackdown on traffic congestion, pollution and noise was scrapped in January, with the cost of the first phase set to rise to ¥40 billion.
“The new plan is aimed at making the traffic-crash-reduction measure more effective and less expensive, and we believe this is an effective measure,” the ministry said.
“We are trying to make Akari a place for people to live in comfort, in a way that we cannot imagine in other parts of Japan,” said Akari resident Yuki Ishikawa.
“I am trying to be more cautious when I go to work, when I do things like buying groceries or buying a cup of coffee,” said Yoko Mizuno, who lives in the neighborhood of Kanzawa, a popular tourist destination.
The government also wants to reduce noise from cars, but there is no data on how many vehicles there are on the road.
Akari is not the only Japanese city to impose parking restrictions.
In January, a new rule in Shibuya, Tokyo’s southernmost prefecture, imposed a three-day ban on parking for cars with more than seven passengers.
The government also plans to introduce measures in other prefectures, including in Iwate and Chiba.
Some residents say the restrictions are excessive and that they don’t have the money to buy new cars, and they have raised their concerns with the government.
“It’s not fair that we have to pay so much to live here, especially since it’s not the best time to do so,” said Yukari Sato, a 55-year-old housewife.