Japan Plans 'Backup' Tokyo

Tiny city would be a place for government to retreat in an emergency

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 5, 2011 7:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Japanese government wants to be prepared in case Tokyo gets hit with another natural disaster—so officials have devised a plan to build a miniature “backup” capital around an airport some 300 miles away. This little city would include all the buildings the parliament and ministry need to function—along with office buildings, resort facilities, parks, and casinos, Wired reports. It would also include a 2,140-foot skyscraper—which would currently be the second largest on earth.

All this would surround the unpopular Itami Airport near Osaka. The city is designed to hold about 50,000 residents—a far cry from Tokyo’s 13 million—while employing about 200,000, most of them commuters. “The idea is being able to have a backup, a spare battery for the functions of the nation,” one ruling party member said. So far this is all just a proposal, but some key opposition figures are behind it, including ex-Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

A general view of a darkened Tokyo skyline during peak hour due to power cuts after an earthquake struck on March 11 off the coast of north-eastern Japan.
A general view of a darkened Tokyo skyline during peak hour due to power cuts after an earthquake struck on March 11 off the coast of north-eastern Japan.   (Getty Images)
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