The Relocation of the Diet and Other Organizations

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Let’s Consider Relocation of the Diet and Other Organizations
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Home >> National and Regional Planning Bureau >> The Relocation of the Diet and Other Organizations >> Q&A Chapter 4: Steps for the Relocation of the Capital Functions


Chapter 4: Steps for the Relocation of the Capital Functions

1. How would the relocation of the capital functions proceed?

The capital functions would be relocated on a step-by-step basis for a prolonged period with careful consideration given to changes in social and economic conditions.

Construction is planned to last for about ten years, which is the target period before which the Diet would open its first session at the new location. Phase 1 would cover the relocation of the necessary minimum functions, including relocation of the Diet and construction of the new city with a population of about 100,000 and an area of 1800 ha. The facilities built during Phase 1 would include the Diet Building, the Prime Minister’s official residence, ministry and agency buildings, an information center for activities in the event of earthquake or other major disasters, a public square symbolizing the new city, residences, and accommodations. The new capital would have good links with Tokyo through transportation and information communication facilities.

After that, small cities (with populations of 30,000 to 100,000) would be built step-by-step in the pastoral suburban areas as required, with a great deal of consideration given to the natural environment. These small cities would grow into creative, efficient, prosperous, and attractive urban areas appropriate for the 21st century.

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2. What should be considered when building the new city?

To people inside and outside the country, the new capital should symbolize the direction of Japan’s advance.

Building the new capital would require the following items and considerations:

(1) Installation of new information network systems

From its beginning, the new capital would require facilities based on state-of-the-art information technology. It is important to build a new horizontal information network structure to promote the sharing and mutual use of all types of information. This network would considerably improve the tasks of the organizations responsible for the capital functions. These improvements would include enhanced functions for working out policies, more efficient administrative organizations, and better administrative services for the citizenry. In addition, the new capital would serve as a center for global intellectual activities and as a hub for the exchange of a wide variety of information.

When building such an infrastructure, the system must be flexible so it can accommodate further advances in communication technology.

(2) Consideration of the environment

Building the new capital would require protection of the existing natural environment and creation of new environments by earnest introduction of new knowledge and technology. Efforts would also be required to build a new capital that enables easy access to nature, is in harmony with the environment, and leads the world in environmental protection practices. The new capital would have to contain all that is needed for saving and recycling energy, minimizing the discharge of environmental loads, and contributing to the reduction of environmental loads in other areas. The new capital would have to also set an example in contributing solutions to global environmental problems.

(3) Functions for international politics

The new capital would have to be equipped with the facilities required of an international political city, including facilities for transportation to an international airport. It would have to include conference facilities, guesthouses, and other accommodations for international political activities and the international exchange of information and culture. The streets would have to be designed to facilitate international activities, including an embassy street where people could encounter a variety of cultures.

(4) Imposing scenery

The new capital should represent both what is rooted in traditional Japanese culture and what we want Japan to become. As the center of a nation’s political activities, it should have imposing scenery. As a place of political and administrative activities open to all, it should also have attractive and familiar scenery. Combined with the surrounding natural environment, the new capital should provide scenery that is appropriate for the entrance to a nation.

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3. How much would the relocation of the capital functions cost?

The Council for the Relocation of the Diet and Other Organizations estimated the total cost on a model of the capital function relocation. According to this model cost estimation, relocating the Diet and related facilities would cost a total of over four trillion yen by the end of Phase 1 in about ten years. This cost includes a government expense of 2 to 2.5 trillion yen. The annual government expense is 2 to 2.5 hundred billion yen, which is about 2% of the government’s current expenditures for public works.

After Phase 1, a cluster of small cities would be built step-by-step and as required for a period of several decades. If all of the current administrative organizations were relocated, the total cost for the relocation is estimated to be 12.3 trillion yen, including a government expense of 4.4 trillion yen.

The above cost includes expenses for building facilities, arranging the base and foundation, acquiring land, and building the necessary wide-area transportation infrastructure facilities.

Although this amount may be subject to a variety of judgments and criticism, it seems that Japan could afford it considering that the relocation of the capital functions would contribute to the nation’s revitalization and be a critically significant project with far-reaching effects. The cost is also justified when compared with Japan’s current annual administrative expenditures of about 50 trillion yen and its economic capabilities. The annual administrative expenditures consist of expenses for project development, facility maintenance and repair, and planning and surveys. Expenses for project development include land expenses and compensation for land acquisition.

In any case, the relocation of the capital functions would require consideration of current economic conditions and elaborate design and planning of the scale and progress of the relocation while making every effort to minimize the total cost.

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4. What would happen to Tokyo after the relocation of the capital functions?

After the relocation of the capital functions, Tokyo would continue to remain as Japan’s center of economic and cultural activities. To this end, the relocation of the capital functions should be used as a major opportunity to develop a long-term plan for Tokyo that could continue on as the fundamental basis for this city toward the 22nd century.

(1) Evolution as an international city

There is a phenomenon in which a concentration of people and functions induces an even greater degree of concentration. This phenomenon works in social, psychological, and other aspects. The relocation of the capital functions would probably change or put an end to this phenomenon. This would help alleviate the excessive concentration of activities in Tokyo and reduce the problems of overcrowding in Tokyo.

Efforts would be made to enhance disaster preparedness, control increases in expenses for social overhead and the degradation of living environments, and build an environment that would transform Tokyo into a pleasant place to live.

As the center of Japan’s economy and culture, Tokyo would thus lead the entire country toward continued prosperity while evolving into an international city featuring activity, creativity, and latitude.

(2) Utilization of vacated areas

The Kobe earthquake warned us of the urgent need to enhance Tokyo’s capabilities of preventing the misfortunes caused by major disasters. The areas vacated after the capital functions are relocated could be redeveloped into spaces that include, but are not limited to, refuge facilities, evacuation routes, disaster prevention bases, and incombustible buildings. These facilities would contribute to the building of a disaster-immune urban structure.

If a reasonable degree of consideration were to be given to the design of peripheral areas, including recreational areas, “green belts”, and the formation of networks, Tokyo would become a beautiful urban area, ensuring a high quality of life for its inhabitants.

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5. What would the new city look like?

Being able to imagine a new capital is delightful, enabling us to create a vision of what a new city in the future should be.

The Council devised the following four basic concepts and drew pictures representing images of the new capital.
(1) Political activity and an administration open to the people of the nation and to the world
(2) Prosperity and culture
(3) Communities where people enjoy their lives together
(4) Harmony with the natural environment

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