Japanese Lawmakers Propose Tokyo Backup City
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
In light of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster, a group of Japanese lawmakers are proposing the creation of a new city that could take the place of Tokyo in case of another natural disaster or other emergency.
Hajime Ishii (pictured) and Banri Kaieda (Democratic Party of Japan), Shizuka Kamei (People's New Party), Ichiro Aisawa (Liberal Democratic Party of Japan), and about 100 Japanese politicians want to establish a substitute capital at the site of the Osaka International Airport at Itami. Titled Integrated Resort, Tourism, Business and Backup City (IRTBBC) or National Emergency Management International City (NEMIC), the new emergency city would house 50,000 residents as well as a workday population of around 200,000 people from the Osaka area.
Japan's emergency seat of government would occupy the proposed city alongside office complexes, resort facilities, casinos, and parks. Politicians supporting the plan also want to construct a 650-meter tower in IRTBBC/NEMIC, which would be one of the tallest in the world. Osaka International Airport at Itami currently hosts domestic flights on its 1,236-acre site.
At the luncheon unveiling the idea on October 24, Ishii said, "The idea of being able to have a back-up, a spare battery for the functions of the nation, isn't this a really good idea?" Ishii and his fellow lawmakers are concerned about the consequences if a disaster similar to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami were to hit the capital city of Tokyo. The Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan also stated, "preparations are already underway at various levels to find ways of mitigating possible far reaching consequences of a much expected earthquake striking Tokyo."
While there is currently no estimated budget for construction of IRTBBC/NEMIC, the lawmakers are planning up to 90 percent of the total cost to come from private industry. The backers of this proposal are planning to request 14,000,000 yen (about US$180,000) to study the feasibility of moving forward with the project. Government leaders throughout Japan have received the idea for the emergency city with mixed reactions.
Many anime, manga, and video games feature depictions of "Neo Tokyo" or the reconstructed Japanese capital, similar to the use of the proposed IRTBBC/NEMIC emergency city. The Neon Genesis Evangelion anime and manga franchise incorporates Tokyo-3 (pictured), a new Tokyo built after the devastation of the original city, which incorporates buildings that retract into the ground during emergencies. Neo-Tokyo appears in the Akira manga and anime after an explosion at the beginning of "World War III" destroys Tokyo.
Errata: A previous version of this article stated "a nuclear explosion at the beginning of "World War III" destroys Tokyo." This was incorrect, Tokyo was destroyed when titular character Akira lost control of his powers. ANN apologizes for this error.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history