We propose relocation of Capital


February 6,1996

Historical background:

Tokyo has been nation's capital since 1603 when the Edo feudal era started. Since then, economic activities and population have heavily concentrated in this area through Meiji evolution in 1868 and accelerated Japan's economic development, in particular in the post Second-World-War period. This system of political and economic concentration has brought the miracle economic growth to Japan and lifted up our country to the second largest economy in the world. However, this system has also various defects in social and economic aspects such as traffic congestion, insufficient capability of water and electricity supply, relatively low level of living standard and environment, high priced structure and many regulations. Vulnerability of Tokyo to destructive earth-quake has been recently admitted from our hardest experience of the Hanshin-Kobe tragedy in early 1995.

In order to have the brighter perspective to the twenty-first century, there remains lots of tasks among us. Regional balanced development of Japan, economic structural reform through deregulation measures, political reform and decentralization, administrative reform by reviewing the current ministries and agencies order and others. We thought that relocation of Capital provides us the best opportunity to solve these problems. In the case of house-moving, people first review what will be brought into the new house, what will be left or abandoned and what will be given to the neighbors. Relocation of Capital are compared to house-moving. Thus, relocation of Capital contributes to promote administrative reform, deregulation, ministries and agencies reform and decentralization. The government and legislative houses are requested to reconsider their role and make utmost effort to achieve the political, economic and administrative reform in accordance with relocation of Capital by next century.

The government has established the council to deliberate capital relocation matter in 1992 and this council has scheduled to file the final report in December 1995. Keidanren has issued the position paper on relocation of Capital in last November to reflect our idea on the report and subsequent actions by the government and the Diet. The following is the english version of our position paper of November.

Title of the paper :

We request the early realization of Capital relocation

November 8,1995

People's interest on relocation of Capital has been recently increasing from the standpoint of reversing the trend of economic concentration on Tokyo and preventing Tokyo from destructive disaster. Recognizing it's importance, necessity and emergency, the legislative body has passed the law to relocate the Diet and others in 1992 based on the resolution of 1990. And the council to relocate the Diet and others, established by this law, is now in the stage to compile the final report including criteria to choose the new site for Capital.

The current purpose of Capital relocation is to reform the old regime of government-led and highly-centralized system which regards Tokyo as the gravity of Japan and pave the way to deregulated society with decreasing the weight of national ministries and agencies, decentralization and subsequently the much more balanced development of Japan regionally.

It is sure to show our strong will toward reform of our country to the people in the world by constructing new Capital and serves to shift our economy to the domestic-demand-led-economy. This economic management has long been expected by the people of Japan and foreign countries as the result of structural reform. It is much more important to make a drastic change of people's mind and past behavior and provide the best opportunity to ask the people to participate into creating new nation toward the twenty-first century. In this country, we have relocated Capital at the time of drastic change historically such as Capital of Nara in 710, Capital of Kyoto in 794, Kamakura era started from 1192 and Edo from 1603.

Taking account of current significant nature of Capital relocation, now is the time for the legislative body to make a bold political decision and start to initiate the concrete action program. We request the legislative body to solidify the nation's consensus and tackle this matter by the following way.

We believe that Tokyo will be certain to grow as the center of Japan in the aspect of economic activity and culture after relocation of Capital and become more internationalized, future-looking and creative city. It is imperative to compile the grand-design program for reconstruction of Tokyo metropolitan area.

The Program to Realize Relocation of Capital

  1. First step (from the end of 1995 to early 1996) :

    Final report of council, new resolution of the Diet and new legislation for choosing the new site for Capital.

    1. Criteria for the new site for Capital must be objective and easy to understand in the final report of the government council.

    2. The Diet is required to make a new resolution to show the firm will for Capital relocation in order to make this to be real national movement.

    3. The Diet must pass the new law to establish the new professional organization to choose new Capital which has the direct communication with the Diet based on the above resolution. From the standpoint to prevent from land-price hike of new Capital, It is necessary to utilize the current National Land Planning Act extensively and legislate new act in the case of emergency. It is also desirable to make a full use of land owned by the central and local governments and low utilized land.

  2. Second step (from mid 1996 to the end of 1997) :

    Investigation and decision of new Capital and initiation to reconstruct Tokyo.

    1. The professional organization should consider the common items for the ministries and agencies in the time of relocation (guideline to prepare for relocation of Capital) in addition to the job to choose the new site for Capital.

    2. The organization conducts the paper survey and on-site investigation at least more than one year and recommend new site for Capital to the Diet by the end of 1997.

    3. During the same period, it is suggested to take a action program for rebuilding Tokyo.

  3. Third step (from early 1998 to 2000 and 2010) :

    Diet decision, related acts to construct new Capital, initiation of construction and holding the first Diet session in new Capital.

    1. The Diet decides on the new site for Capital by early 1998 based on the recommendation by the investigative body.

    2. It is inevitable to pass the related acts for construction of new Capital including establishment of Capital Relocation Agency (tentative). Precisely, the Diet adopts the necessary measures for tax preference and expenditure in two years to promote relocation and basic principle for relocation of the Diet and administration.

    3. Construction of new Capital should start by 2000 and the first Diet session be held in new Capital by 2010. It is also necessary to review and reform administration including ministry and agency system in parallel with development of administrative reform.

The Final Report of the Council

The government council compiled the final report on December 13 last year. This report will be available at Capital Relocation Planning Division in National Land Agency(03-3593-3311) of GOJ. According to this report, new Capital is scheduled to start for construction in 2000 and the first Diet session in 2010. This report also point out nine criteria for choosing the new site for Capital. New Capital is located from 60 to 300 kilometer from Tokyo and equipped with international airport. It is necessary to consider security for destructive earth-quake and sufficient water supply. Population size is at maximum 600 thousand and spread over 9000 hectare . New Capital consists of small functional cities(the core city is called the Diet city) located in the vast area and these cities are connected with highway or commuter train.

The Diet is now preparing to submit the law to set up the organization to choose the new site for Capital in the current session starting from January 22.

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