Sayonara, Tokyo! Let’s relocate the capital of Japan


It’s time to move the capital of Japan, according to an entrepreneur who is now an advisor to the Prime Minister.

Masaaki Taira is not advocating a physical relocation. Instead, he wants a technological revolution.

“Japan has a history of moving its capital city in response to infectious diseases,” he said. “After the coronavirus, it should move its capital into the digital world.”

Upgrade and reboot

Mr Taira criticised the inefficiency of the civil service. He believes Japan’s administration is “at least a decade” behind other countries in terms of technology.

Dismantling the old systems won’t be easy. Many government departments insist on the use of name stamps known as hanko and people still use fax machines.

Vulnerable Tokyo

What about the radical idea of physically moving the capital of Japan to another location? The last time that was considered seriously was soon after the bubble economy burst.

The Far Eastern Economic Review said in 1992 that relocating the government would reduce congestion in Tokyo and save institutions a fortune in rent.

The other main reason was to protect the nation if Tokyo was devastated by an earthquake. If disaster strikes the capital, the country’s economy could grind to a halt and there would be a knock-on effect around the world.

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