NRI Papers
No. 200 June 1, 2015
  The Need for "Rebuilding Tokyo" with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as Impetus  
Yoji KOBAYASHI

Following Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, Japan is now faced with a very clear goal in the shape of "the year 2020." As 2020 approaches, Tokyo and Japan as a whole should set about dealing with those problems that have been put off up to now. Rather than "building what is needed for the Olympics," it is important to have an idea of "building what is necessary even after the Olympics." In Tokyo, particular efforts should be made to overcome the following three issues.

(1) Dealing with aging infrastructure: Because public investment has been made to develop infrastructure in Tokyo ahead of other areas, Tokyo faces the issues of aging more quickly than other areas. Given that there is a high probability of a major earthquake directly striking the capital, it is a matter of urgency to "rebuild the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway" and to "improve disaster preparedness in the waterfront areas."

(2) Reconstructing existing urban areas: The Olympics provides a great opportunity for "city sales," enabling Tokyo, the world's largest mature city, to show the world a model case of rebuilding as a sustainable city. To make the most of this opportunity, Tokyo faces a stack of issues to cope with such as "limiting vehicle use in the city center" and "promoting city center residency and urban greening."

(3) Overcoming the Galapagos syndrome: Tokyo has been one of the slowest major cities in the world to attain multicultural diversity. Tokyo compares unfavorably with Singapore, China and Hong Kong in terms of the location of the Asia regional headquarters of multinational enterprises. Rather than striving to put on a one-time show of Japan's "hospitality" that will end with the closing of the Olympic Games, efforts must be made to progressively develop an environment in which foreigners and foreign companies can live and operate in Japan permanently without a sense of being ill at ease.

The effects of these efforts could be enhanced by keeping in mind the following four key points: ① "selection and concentration" in making investments, ② utilization of private investments, ③ training and developing construction workers and ④ showing the entire world how Tokyo is being renewed.

Contents
I The Legacy to be Left by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
II Efforts Required to Address the Issues Presented by the "Rebuilding of Tokyo"
III Key Points to Consider in Pursuing the Rebuilding of Tokyo

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