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Critics of Tokyo redevelopment plan accuse city government of ignoring residents' wishes

43 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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43 Comments
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The story of Japan. Commercial interests are almost always paramount. The only difference here is some people are protesting.

6 ( +30 / -24 )

You would think that a city that’s is almost all concrete would start to build around its existing trees and design with nature but no, money rules! If 700 old trees are cut down in Tokyo it’s absolutely no wonder rainforests are disappearing so fast. Why in earth has such a project been given the go ahead?!!!

15 ( +26 / -11 )

Ms Koike loves to virtue-signal while pushing "green energy" dictates on the peasants, but here, in approving this nature-destroying project, she reveals that she's actually more interested in big corporate interests.

The solution to the worsening "Heat Island Effect" is NOT to add more concrete to the region. Rather, expand urban green areas (large parks with trees and natural pavements) and encourage planting shade-producing trees to line the streets.

That would be a truly GREEN policy.

18 ( +27 / -9 )

accused the government in court on Thursday of ignoring the wishes of residents and catering to commercial interests.

Isn't this LDP/Japan Inc. modus operandi No. 1 from the Olympics, wages,taxes etc etc?

They do what serves their crony oligarchic interests and then in the face of overwhelming opposition come out with a statement like "we will strive our utmost for the public's understanding and cooperation" and then wait for their plans to be fait accompli and people for forget until the next time.

5 ( +19 / -14 )

Disgusting

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

worrying trend atm. No one I’m Setagaya was asked if we wanted the us Olympic team to take over Kinuta park and to build an eye sore track with stadium in the park, but they did it anyway. Surely as tax payers we deserve to be consulted on big changes within our own communities.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Is Yoyogi best served by having five adjacent stadiums/grounds? I don’t think so.

The land currently has two Jingu stadiums, a rugby stadium, and a rubber-ball baseball ground located adjacent to the new National Stadium. Those “three stadiums + rubber-ball baseball ground” will become one stadium, bringing the area total to two. Open space will increase from 21% to 44%, greenery percentage will increase from 25% to 30%. And the vista of the ginkgo-lined street will be preserved for the formation of a shady green pedestrian space.

Sure, the wealthy users of the Gaien Tennis Club may not be happy for the temporary construction around them. But Tokyoites overall benefit.

Review the plan yourself: https://www.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/english/topics/2023/documents/0206_01_01b.pdf

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

“ignoring the wishes of residents and catering to commercial interests”

Exactly!

SOP in Japan.

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

government of ignoring residents' wishes

In Japan, that's not the first time but government need not to worry people will choose same party over and over again.

-6 ( +12 / -18 )

To protest without having enough people to make a difference in votes is like rubbing two bricks to make a mirror.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

“ignoring the wishes of residents and catering to commercial interests”

Exactly!

SOP in Japan.

Exactly.

government of ignoring residents' wishes

In Japan, that's not the first time but government need not to worry people will choose same party over and over again.

Exactly. You reap what you sow.

-15 ( +6 / -21 )

 ignoring the wishes of residents and catering to commercial interests.

That's pretty much a definition of Tokyo

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Of course. Start with the cutting down of trees next Friday. Protesters are too late.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

greenery percentage will increase from 25% to 30%

My local park in Tokyo has seen several construction projects over the years that the authorities have touted as preserving or increase "greenery."

The opposite results. The large old, broad and shade-producing trees are destroyed, replaced by 2-meter high young trees barely beyond sapling stage with hardly any foliage. The wild grasses are dug up and replaced by squares of very short turf-like grass that belongs in a mini-golf course. The dirt and chip paths are concreted and often widened.

The overall effect is Disney-style artificial. In the summer the areas are empty of people because they are so much more hotter than the original naturally shaded areas. But this is exactly what Tokyo authorities want. The people? That's another matter.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

demokrashi.made in Japan.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

accuse city government of ignoring residents' wishes

they think this is a new thing?

where have they been for the last several decades? It’s been going on since day 1.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@Kazuko - I read the PDF. While the proposal isn't as horrible as people might think, they're engaging in the usual deception when they use numbers. I can't speak for the tennis club, but much of the supposed "increase" in open space comes from not counting the amateur baseball field as open space today (though it clearly is; a nice patch of green in the middle of the park which I have been to many times), and having more dead space between facilities rather than packing them in efficiently as they are now. The amateur baseball field will be gone, as will the Swallows' secondary field.

Will the team have to bus players around the city to get to their practice field? That's not very green. But it is another example of externalizing costs, something both corporations and government are really good at.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

No surprise the government is ignoring the people. The majority didn't want the Olympics or Abe's funeral. People are just a number and even those cards have issues.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Japan, democratic in the sense of the "People's Democratic Republic of Korea."

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

As one of the nearby residents, I can say our experience with the New National (Olympic) Stadium does not bode well. At first they had consultation meetings and gave out plans of the Zaha Hadid design. Then the Japanese architects and experts came out saying it's unsightly, the height will obscure views and beside the winner of the International Competition is a foreigner. They never consulted us again, didn't tell us about the 50m high Hotel next door, the reduction from 85,000 seats to 65,000, the same as the old one, or that it could no longer be used for rugby so they have to build another stadium for that (on the site of the Kenkoku Kinen Bunko).

I reviewed the link KazukoHarmony posted. Coloring a plan green doesn't tell you that they are replacing mature trees with the straggly shrubs draped around the new stadium that need constant watering to survive, or the impact of 2, possibly 3 high-rise towers almost 200 meters tall. This is not sustainable landscape design.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Japan(s government NEVER ignore the people's wishes.... LOLLLLLLLL

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

What’s this? The Japanese government ignoring the people? Nothing new here! Just remember, 60% of you keep voting for these cronies.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Prosperity = posterity :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It so does. x80 more yrs and KANPAII~

toraToday

Prosperity = posterity :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It so does. x80 more yrs and KANPAII

You missed all the action.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is very unfortunate, but big business totally rules the roost here, and they often achieve their aims by having the politicians in their pockets - corruption is rife. No matter the protests, the development will go ahead and more concrete will be poured, more parking lots will go up, and more nature and trees will be destroyed to the detriment of all who live nearby and all the rest of us in this choking city. There was much protest a short few years ago over the development of Nakano's Heiwanomori Koen. Nobody wanted it, except businesses and the politicians, so it went through despite the vociferous protests. There should be a far more accountable system in place over these things, but Japan is a million miles away from such things.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No use protesting. The government has already decided what they want to do. The plan was decided well before it ever went public. Don't protest the plan. Protest the politicians. Stop relecting the same party.

Isn't it true two previous Tokyo Govs were caught accepting bribes? Do you think this has changed with Gov. Koike?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It is a shame they had to close down Jingu golf range as well. I liked that golf range. At least I got to experience it before they closed it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's all bout the money!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

More housing needed to implement the 15-minute city agenda. The govt in Tokyo is definitely captured by the globalist elites.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Tokyo is no stranger to gov't corruption, it's really sad how short sighted they can be. good on these people for pushing back against it

1 ( +5 / -4 )

More concrete for one of the least green, most concreted cities in the world, swell.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

https://www.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/english/topics/2023/documents/0206_01_01b.pdf

Slide 11 "Ginkgo-lined street. The vista of the ginkgo-lined street will be preserved for the formation of a shady green pedestrian space. Tree species planned: Ginkgo, staghorn, camphor, etc."

This strongly implies that the ginkgo trees will be preserved, as in NOT CUT DOWN...but since it does explicitly state that, I am skeptical. If the plan is not to cut them down, why are so many protesting about their removal? This is not adding up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's the sneakiness in which this was done that has pissed everyone off.

When I told my friend, who actually lives right by there, that the govt. was planning on destroying it, she was shocked because she had heard nothing about it.

Imagine being told by a guy living on the other side of Japan, a foreigner no less, about what was happening to a place she loves just a few kilos away from her.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

It does seem like the newer construction projects are becoming more and more frivolous. I love big skyscrapers as much as the next guy, but take for example the fact that in Odaiba, Shinagawa, and Roppongi, we essentially have three identical ugly redevelopments taking place. Odaiba in particular used to be a very cool and unique part of the city but has since lost most of it's charm aside from a few minor attractions - all thanks to poor urban planning.

Ms Koike loves to virtue-signal while pushing "green energy" dictates on the peasants, but here, in approving this nature-destroying project, she reveals that she's actually more interested in big corporate interests.

I agree. As an American I can personally attest to the fact that Koike has all the common attributes of a typical oafish city leader, as though she indirectly descends from the Mayor Daley dynasty.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Just like the Tokyo Olympic village.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This Ms. Koike trying to shore financial support for election. She is still one of the faces of the failed Olympics, and a lot of those developers lost money. She is trying to mend relationships by paying what she owe.

She does not care about the people or the environment. She only cares about herself. She might still has aspirations to be the first female Prime Minister.

Her argument will be that the UK has already done it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

More concrete will only make the city hotter which will make people turn up the AC while at the same time the gov't tells people to be responsible and decrease energy usage.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Good on them. They've got a tough fight though. Everywhere I look in my area old buildings and usable older houses that just need TLC are being bulldozed for soulless 10 story microflats.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Someone got paid, and lining their pocket with bribe money! Cutting trees and talking about green energy and climate control but in the mean time creating a concrete jungle with high sky rise buildings with many windows will only increase the temperature in the area. The only thing that can manipulate one to do the unthinkable is money lots of money!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

For all the carping about Japan this is a headline and a story that could originate from any sizable city in the world. Even our little town of 30,000 residents we have had bitter disputes over redevelopment, parks and currently a public pool. In big cities residents lawyer up and go to war in the courts dragging projects out sometimes for decades or wearing government agencies out completely until the plans are abandoned. The conflict between commercial interests and competing non-commercial interests is inherent in almost all societies. Look at ongoing disputes in many nations between advocates of wind power and those who oppose it, or between those who want utility scale solar power vs those who want distributed power generation with solar covering freeways, parking lots and all roof tops which would turn the idea of a power grid on its head. You get disputes like that over People's Park in Berkeley ( Berzerkeley ) with UC wanting to build housing while the park for some takes on an almost sacred quality. I don't think the pressures on the Tokyo government are somehow unique, nor is there response.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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