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File photo shows Tokyo's Meiji Jingu Gaien area, which includes an iconic tree-lined avenue. The area is subject to a controversial redevelopment plan. Image: KYODO

Landowner seeks understanding over Jingu redevelopment


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"Our efforts to transmit information have been insufficient," 

The other day someone was commenting about the contempt officials (or in this case major institutional property holders) have for the public and I think this is a good example.

The people protesting this understand perfectly well what they don’t like about it, but framing the issue as a failure to properly explain a plan makes it a lot easier to ignore their criticism than framing the issue as a failure of the plan itself would.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

All 60 them,

More than 200,000 have signed the petition against it.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

I've always loved it when Japanese is translated into "understanding".

The English word "understanding" does not in any way imply agreement. You can understand something and not agree with it.

However, in Japanese, typically the word / words used implicitly not just understanding but agreement, whether explicit, implicit or tacit.

The real translation would be:

"We'd like to proceed with the project while obtaining their agreement through careful explanations," 

Although, in the end, what they are really saying is.... "we're going to do what we want to do and we are going to bulldoze any opposition if at all possible."

I bet if the Tokyo City government removed the tax exempt status for the transaction and taxed the gains at 80%, the religious corporation that owns the land would reconsider.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Nation wide and out of a population of 125 million. Do the math, if you can.

Number of people nationwide out of a population of 125 million who have gone to the trouble of signing a petition in favor of the plan: zero.

Do the math to figure out which is more, if you can.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

As one of the residents of the area, I know the developers' "efforts to transmit information ... " have been more than insufficient, they gave been deceptive and downright dishonest. They presented a plan that showed various sports buildings but omitted two high-rise office towers. They presented "before" and "after" plans that showed areas shaded green, saying they were re-planting an (almost) equivalent area of greenery, when the "before" plans showed mature trees and some of the priceless Ginko trees, the symbol of Tokyo, being removed and the "after" plans showed their replacements, bushes at most a meter high when fully grown.

You can see the contrast between the mature trees of the historic area to the left of the photo and the new stadium, with its now full-grown planting, just a few bushes of straggling scrub hanging on the sides of the building. The ancient trees were planted BTW by the ordinary people of Tokyo as an expression of their regard for the former Meiji Emperor.

What these religious "seekers of understanding" need to understand is that this time they may finally have gone too far. This issue has already aroused individual citizens of Tokyo to form human chains and obstruct construction progress. If the quality and character of this historic area is not maintained, they will have to force their development through against ordinary people, tree by tree and stone by stone.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

No matter what history has, no matter how much comfort people have been getting from, the place is at the primary location in Tokyo for business and profit making. Apart from the threat to the greenery which has been nurtured and admired over so many years, I wonder if the shrine management, whose primary consideration is providing the general public with a place for worship and praying, is comfortable with seeking (huge) revenues and profits by letting neo liberal economy destroy the public good or taking advantage of the private ownership and exclusivity. No to this redevelopment plan.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Looking at the view from this picture, the 4 sports venues could be torn down, and replaced without having to touch the trees in question.

Hell, they could just replace the baseball stadium and build their skyscrapers, on the available land as well.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A new high-rise complex in place of the two stadiums

No more explanation needed.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

A new high-rise complex

Of all the things Tokyo needs in 2023, another one of those ain't it

7 ( +8 / -1 )

In an area within Central Tokyo 743 trees are set to be cut down? This is unacceptable.

It is OK to remove these old sports venues and to construct something new at the same place, why not? However this should be possible without cutting down such a huge number of trees. Change the redevelopment plan.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Landowner seeks understanding over Jingu redevelopment

My understanding, and I think it is shared by most of those impacted and observing this issue, is that the landowner is a typical rentier capital hoarding equity conglomerate and is only concerned with profits to shareholders and the public be damned.

I think Murakami Haruki understood it well enough and all the further PR and LDP corporate subsidies they receive will not increase the quantum of "understanding" in the Japanese public.


The Japan Inc./LDP LDP combine loves to seek understanding when shoving their rapacious and predatory policies down the throats of the Japanese public.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

There is never a straight answer I learned in this country long ago when Japanese individuals face a negative situation. When a person here says "so desu ne" that usually means a "no." In this case, I can almost guarantee nothing will stop this building going up and those trees going down, unless the locals and outsiders keep putting up a fight and that is because someone has surely been paid off to permit this building in the first place.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

We'd like to proceed with the project while obtaining understanding through careful explanations

This guy needs to get a job with TEPCO.

But seriously - does the stadium's association with the shrine result in some tax benefits? Threatening to yank those would likely change the situation real quick.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Additional Barrier Free modifications ? Sorry, that's just an excuse. I have been able to push my Wife around the place in a Wheelchair, sure, they could add a temporary slope here and there - or at least some sign-posts to where they're currently located at - I'd even do that for free (only cost of materials) !

Were I to be suspicious, I'd think that there may be someone looking to line their pockets with lots of money from this venture.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The owners of the land? Wasn’t that government land owned by the Japanese people? Did the people vote to sell the land? Seems like some serious corruption is back in Japan government to sell off the land probably well below developed prices to the friends of the politicians. Japanese politicians are as bad as US ones when it comes to filling their pockets.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Remember the movie Wall Street, 1987?

When Michael Douglas said and I quote" GREED ID GOOD "

I can think of it as the only reason for this development.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Nothing is sacred in this city. The last thing we need is another concrete/glass heat generator.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Joni Mitchell sang it best 53 years ago.

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot 

With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin' hot spot

Don't it always seem to go 

That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone 

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot 

They took all the trees put 'em in a tree museum 

And they charged the people a dollar an' a half just to see 'em

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is a crime against future generations but when has that ever stopped greedy Japanese developers.

I can not even understand that one human being or animal for that matter would contemplate destroying that beautiful avenue

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"We want to make money and we dont care if you dont like it"

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The major landowner...........I know, lets kill all the trees and build new EMPTY office spaces where we can charge exorbitant rates which no one will pay. Sounds like a great idea, oh, and do not forget to pay off the local officials.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Do Japanese have the ballz to stand up to the man? I can tell you for a fact 100 students camping out there can prevent any bulldozer moving.

0 ( +4 / -4 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tokyo is full of concrete due to development.

Greed triumphs over nature…

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

Bend over. They are gonna shove this project through one way or another.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Wikipedia suggests the whole park has 120 000 trees, many of them pines. I don't like killing trees, but 743 trees to celebrate an emperor and his consort might just be acceptable. Tourism probably pays enough to make it a good thing - you could always plant some more trees elsewhere.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Tokyo fate is to be consumed by concrete. Bye bye tree we will miss you

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

@rainydayToday 04:58 pm JST

The people protesting this understand perfectly well what they don’t like about it

Depending on what their exact objection is, that may not be true. Granted, if they just don't like the idea of any tree or being cut down or cannot suffer the loss of even a single square meter of green, no explanation may help.

But if their objection is to something technical like whether a gingko tree's roots would be damaged, it's not hard to imagine them being taken in by propaganda, even if the development company is indeed taking effective measures and compromises to prevent that. Think of the Fukushima situation. That kind of thing, in principle, can be explained.

And even in the former case, the necessity of renovation may be better explained to increase its relative worth in the eyes of Mr. Tree-Hugger and that may suffice to cause him to begrudgingly withdraw his objection.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

The people protesting this understand perfectly well 

All 60 them,

-19 ( +2 / -21 )

More than 200,000 have signed the petition against it.

Nation wide and out of a population of 125 million. Do the math, if you can.

-24 ( +1 / -25 )

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