[ Nippon Keidanren ] [ Journal ]
Messages from "Economic Trend", May 2005

The Significance of Urban Revitalization

Hiromichi Iwasa
Vice Chairman of the Board of Councillors, Nippon Keidanren
President and CEO, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.

Centered on the Urban Revitalization Headquarters, the public and private sectors in Japan have together openly embraced urban revitalization with the goal to heighten the appeal and international competitiveness of Japanese cities. Recently, a number of major urban revitalization development projects have been completed in Tokyo and other city centers that have drawn considerable attention within society. Meanwhile, private development projects are being promoted through regulatory reform, these reforms are merely a single aspect of urban revitalization.

The true significance of urban revitalization is that it boosts the appeal of a city, the stage of economic and cultural activities, on a global level. Revitalization creates demand by drawing in people, goods, money and information from both domestic and international sources. The true benefit then of urban revitalization is that interactions between residing, working and visiting populations are invigorated. Together these merits can lead to a greater added value, while the economy is activated in a sustainable manner. In addition, the impact of tourism is indeed substantial to any city in the world; hence, the creation of attractive cities is clearly advantageous because it contributes to the promotion of tourism.

We should ask ourselves "What characteristics of Japanese metropolises require improvement compared to various Western and Asian cities?" To begin, airport access routes, beltways and other city infrastructure functions are inadequate. In addition, there are many points that must be tackled in regards to the preparation of facilities including securing earthquake resistance and the creation of beautiful scenery and landscaping. More importantly, measures concerning the "software" aspects of city creation require our attention. There is a need for "software" strength that draws out fixed potential consisting of city histories and traditions and possesses the knowledge and inventiveness to create excitement, comfort, entertainment and services. Lastly, people and governments must work together in order to heighten the quality and hospitality of their cities as a whole.

In light of this, urban revitalization is only now at the starting gate. We must steadily move forward with urban revitalization on a national scale based on a medium to long-term vision with urban revitalization as the pillar of domestic demand, as we confront the unprecedented phenomenon of less children and an aging society in Japan. Our unrelenting hope is that the cities of Japan will become the pride of its people and draw the attention of people the world over.

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