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New Era vol.15
September 2000
Think Together about the Capital Functions Relocation of Japan


Status of Contribution to the Opinion Exchange Spaces
(From August 20,1999 to August 20,2000)

One year has passed since the National Land Agency Homepage "Opinion Exchange Spaces" was established in August 1999. Opinions contributed through the Homepage so far are reported here.
1.Numbers of Opinions Contributed during the Year in the Past
(1) Capital Functions Relocation Plaza (Opinion Exchange Space for the Capital Functions Relocation in General) 555 inputs
(2) New City Plaza (Opinion Exchange Space for the creation of a new city due to the Capital Functions Relocation) 89 inputs
Total: 644


2.Details of Opinions
The opinions put forward by citizens can be classified as follows.
(1) Capital Functions Relocation Plaza
1) 29% 2) 22% 3) 19% 4) 30%
1) Opinions about the Significance and Effects, as well as Approval or Disapproval of the Relocation
2) Opinions about the Relocation Site
3) Opinions about Present Problems, Including Environment, Transportation, and Administration, in Japan
4) Others

(2) New City Plaza
1) 54% 2) 22% 3) 24%
1) Opinions about Proposals for the New City
2) Opinions about New City Conditions
3) Others


3.Summary of Major Opinions
Some of the opinions are summarized and introduced below.
(1) Both those who approve and disapprove of the capital functions relocation agree that harmful effects are caused by overcrowding and centralization in Tokyo and some countermeasures are necessary. The capital functions relocation will create a good opportunity of reconsider major changes in the urban planning of Tokyo.
(2) Considering all of the hazards in Tokyo, the capital functions relocation should be realized by all means as a national strategy.
(3) The capital functions relocation is certainly a problem to be thought about by the youth of today, particularly primary school and junior high school students. Those who will be responsible for the next generation ought to consider how the nation should develop, and active discussions in primary and junior high schools focusing on the relocation as the learning material are sincerely desired.
(4) Social structure reform should not be the prime objective in the capital functions relocation, actions to be taken for further bettering the country as a whole should be considered first.

Proposals about the Diet Building, urban layout, and others were also contributed through images.

Discussions among the nation's citizens are essential to the capital functions relocation. We would like people to continuously utilize the opinion exchange spaces for contributing their various opinions.


Capital Functions Relocation from a Historical Point of View
In Japan, the political centers have been relocated in parallel with the state political reforms.
In this newsletter, the capital functions relocation is looked on from a historical point of view. "A Study of Miyako" by Professor Hidehiro Sonoda of International Research Center for Japanese Studies is also introduced.

Historical Significance of the Capital Functions Relocation

Looking back over Japan's history, Japan has reformed state political systems and relocated its political center to create a new governing system to respond to the needs of the times.

In the past fifty years after the World War , the domestic and foreign environments around Japan have changed drastically, and Japan is now approaching an significant turning point in anticipation of a new era.

To establish a new era, it is necessary to reconsider the current institutions, which were established since the Meiji Era, and look forwards Japan's future.

The capital functions relocation is a very important issue deeply related to Japan's future, and it will control future outcome of state politics. It is a major historical project that should be considered from a long-term view point well beyond the next century.
*Major Era Transitions in Japan
Years of Grace Era Transitions Reasons for Relocation and Selection
710 Heijo Era Capital
(Nara)
Establishment of a Statute System
To Prevent Disaster Caused by Starvation and Epidemics and to Pray for Good Fortune
794 Heian Era Capital
(Kyoto)
Separation from Buddhist Power
Convenience of Land and Water Transportation
To Renew People's Minds
1192 Kamakura Shogunate
(Kamakura)
Rise of Samurai Power
Independence from Court Noble Power
Place Connected to the Genji Clan
1338 Muromachi Shogunate
(Kyoto)
Utilization of Traditional Authority
1603 Edo Shogunate
(Tokyo)
Establishment of Samurai Power
Development of the Kanto Plain
1868 Meiji Government
(Tokyo)
Utilization of a Large City, Tokyo
Geographical Position
* Reasons for relocation or selection includes those whichare not completely accepted opinions.
The Source: Prepared by the Metropolitan Areas Development Bureau of the National Land Agency based on information from various sources.


"A Study of Miyako"
Professor of International Research Center for Japanese Studies
(Specializing in the Social History Research Theme: Comparative Research of Social Change History)
Miyako is a compound conception consisting of three elements: (1) suitability for the seat of the Emperor's Palace; (2) suitability for the Capital; and (3) suitability for a city. (For detail, refer to "Universe Called 'Miyako,'" NHK Books, 1994.)
(1) With regard to the suitability for the seat of the Emperor's Palace, "Miyako" originally means the place where the Emperor lives, based on the fact that "Miyako" is written in Japanese as "the Emperor's Place."
(2) With regard to the suitability for the Capital, "Miyako" implies that it plays a role as the political core (the seat of public authority) because Emperors in ancient times were political men of power.
(3) With regard to the suitability for a city, there is a major premise that "Miyako" is a large city. However, Miyako originally was not suitable for a city but was made suitable later as Kyoto (Heian Era Capital) underwent changes. It is said that the Heian Era Capital had a population of about 70 to 80 thousand when it was constructed. Thereafter, as time passed, the population increased in parallel with the development of the Heian Era Capital, and Miyako gained the element of suitability for a city.
However, more importantly, it is interesting to note that Miyako does not necessarily need to possess these three elements.
In Japan for example, during the Genroku period in the seventeenth century, Miyako is clearly recognized to be Kyoto, even though it was certain that the "seat of public authority" was Edo. In other words, if we try to specify the capital in the Edo Era from the viewpoint of a capital as conceived in the modern West, Edo is unmistakably the only one, but Edo was not Miyako.
Though the remark "Kyoto was a millenary capital" is frequently heard, it does not mean that Kyoto was the capital of Japan for a thousand years. In the first place, the concept of the "capital" separated from "Miyako" had not existed before the Meiji Era, as stated before. There seems to be a common stereotyped understanding that Tokyo became the "capital" when the capital was transferred to Tokyo. If so, this ends up in the paradox that Kyoto had been the capital before that time.
In my opinion, Tokyo has not been the "capital" but the "Miyako," that possesses all of these three elements described at the beginning of this paper, from the Meiji Era to the present, (See "Is Tokyo the Capital?," the Edo Tokyo Museum Symposium Report 2, 1999.) It can be said that only Kyoto in the latter part of the Heian Era and modern Tokyo were and are the perfect Miyako (meaning to possess all three essential elements).
We can also say that the capital functions relocation now under discussion is a trial to once again separate the three elements possessed by Miyako.


Joint Public Relations Activities|Posters and Leaflets Renewed
The start of the project "Joint Public Relations Activity with Participation of Various Organizations and Local Public Bodies" under the catch phrase "Dream Initiated! Capital Functions Relocation!" was introduced in the New Era vol. 14. We greatly appreciate the participation of many people in the various events held in each region.
The poster in the renewed design has underlying tones of "scarlet maple" and orange to suggest the image of autumn. The "red carpet" in the poster indicates both the "carpet" in the Diet building and the "carpet" metaphorically expressing tinted maple leaves lying thickly on the ground in the country hills or gardens.
Various events related to the capital functions relocation, including the details and additions to the events introduced by the previous posters are introduced. This up-to-date information is also introduced on the Homepage. Please visit this site; We are hoping many people will participate.


TOPIC

Capital Functions Relocation Discussed at Various Schools and Other Institutions

Bosei High School Attached to Tokai University
On July 14, the freshmen of the Bosei High School attached to Tokai University held a debate on the theme of the capital functions relocation as part of the class on the "Theory of Modern Culture." They were divided into supporting and objecting groups and various discussions were actively developed between the two groups from viewpoints of the significance and effects of the relocation.

Economics Department of Toyo University
On July 22, sophomores of the Matsubara Seminar of the Economics Department, Toyo University, took up the capital functions relocation as the debate theme as part of their debate class and participated in a hot discussions on the pros and cons of the relocation. Because careful preparations were made, plenty of arguments from both sides were developed in spite of the time limit of several minutes for one step for each side in the process of arguments, questions, answers, responses, and conclusions. photo

Explanation about the Capital Functions Relocation on the "Children's Kasumigaseki Visitation Day"
The "Children's Visitation Day" was held on August 23, the National Land Agency, and seventeen children from three to thirteen years of age participated together with their parents.
During the event, a National Land Agency official explained about the capital functions relocation using a video display and brochures specially prepared for children and let them experience a virtual capital function city by operating a personal computer using the "Capital Function City Experience CD-ROM."
Children and parents asked serious questions, and they enjoyed operating personal computers. We believe they must have had quite a different summer vacation day.
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Accessing Various Information
Various information concerning the capital functions relocation has been being provided on the National Land Agency Homepage on the Internet.
Also if you are interested in items described in this leaflet and others, please let us know. We will pleasingly send related documents to you. We are awaiting your contact.
We are Waiting for Your Contact
Address: Capital Functions Relocation Planning Division, Metropolitan Areas Development Bureau, National Land Agency
2-2 Kasumigaseki 1-Chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-9972 JAPAN
Homepage: http://www.mlit.go.jp/kokudokeikaku/iten/index.html
E-mail: itenka@mlit.go.jp
Telephone: +81-3-3597-5858 FAX: +81-3-3501-5481


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