Random Japan

NPO lobbies to rebuild Edo Castle at the cost of 50 billion yen (US$500 million)

Rachel Tackett

Naotake Odake, former managing director of the Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB) and once director of the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau, spent years of his professional life traveling to cities across the globe in order to promote Tokyo as a worthwhile tourist destination. In his travels, he noticed a trait shared by all the major cities: they each had a unique and well-recognized landmark embodying the history and culture of the land. According to Odake, a structure of this sort is vital to bolstering a spirit of pride in any given population. Unfortunately for Tokyo, he believes that this sort of historical landmark is something that Japan’s capital city severely lacks. What he has against Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Tower, or Tokyo Skytree, I’m really not sure. But, it is for this reason that Odake has taken the lead as the chairman of a non-profit organization which hopes to rebuild the Edo Castle’s innermost tower. “In order to present Tokyo as a proud tourist city, we need something like Edo Castle,” he says. But will the payoff really outweigh the costs?



Tons of unexploded World War II-era munitions that remain uncollected in Okinawa, according to a Naha-based NPO


Vehicles recalled worldwide by Toyota earlier this month because of defective powertrains

¥640 million

Funds intended for local governments to measure hotspots near the Fukushima Daiichi plant that remain unspent


A Kawasaki-based inventor has developed a bicycle that can filter water while it’s being pedaled.

In the first procedure of its kind, doctors at Osaka University have treated a pancreatitis patient by removing the offending organ, separating its insulin-producing islets, and transplanting them back into the patient.

Researchers at the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization have discovered that “warmer temperatures sweeten the taste of apples.”

A research group headed by a professor at Waseda University has developed a six-wheeled robot that can be operated by smartphone to conduct environmental surveys.

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New maglev Shinkansen to run underground for 86% of initial route

September 19, 2013


There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but not much else for passengers to see when they eventually travel on Japan’s new 500 kph maglev train.

Operator Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) announced Sept. 18 that the proposed route between Tokyo and Nagoya will mostly run underground.

Tunnels will account for 86 percent of the 286-kilometer section on the Chuo Shinkansen Line scheduled to open in 2027.

This has raised the possibility that costs will be inflated, completion will be delayed and riders will be disappointed.