Shock! Japan to ban its National Tree

crow in flight Japanese National Tree concrete utility pole
Shocking news: Japan plans to eliminate its National Tree—the sacred Concrete Utility Pole, which has been a scenic part of the Japanese landscape aesthetic for past 100 years.


National, local governments advance project to bury unsightly power lines
Mainichi News | February 14, 2016
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is considering a bill to promote the relocation of power lines underground, a project backed by local governments, businesses and the prime minister to improve Japan’s scenery
the LDP would require power companies and other businesses to refrain from laying new overhead power lines and installing power poles, and move forward with the removal of existing ones.



Previous reports of Japan’s charmingly favorite “tree” include:



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10 thoughts on “Shock! Japan to ban its National Tree”

  1. Long overdue but very difficult to push through. There are multiple interests to navigate to get the lines laid underground, NTT, power companies, cable companies.
    It will take years.

  2. Not so sure that’s the main issue. It’s not exactly rocket science and there are plenty of other countries that have done it to copy from. The main problem would seem to be just the amount of work to be done digging up the road, taking down all the garbage that it up at the moment and hooking it all up again. That’s going to take a long time and will cost a fortune. But hey, stimulus anyone?

    Needs to be done of course. Overhead power lines and other services are so third world. And the longer it’s left the more it will cost so get started I say.

  3. L wrote:
    Long overdue but very difficult to push through…
    It will take years.

    Or a good war/quake…
    I vote for nuking the place..

  4. To me, the problem is one of lack of planning. The idea of coordinating underground utility corridors would seem to require an functional planning department, which no Japanese city has.

  5. But where will Japan’s national birds crows be able to roost if the national trees are torn down?

  6. Good to hear this. Usually the philosophy is prune all the trees and let the power lines flourish.

  7. Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan by Alex Kerr

    Concreted rivers, flattened valleys, plastic houses, universal fluorescent lights, pachinko parlors, tenement cities, ugly hotels, sterile resorts. This is the starting point for design, and so the most inspired talents in the world end up where they began, with more concreted rivers, flattened valleys, and plastic houses. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a profound cultural problem
    A thoroughgoing reform of public works, putting farmers to work burying phone lines (for example) instead of rivers, would enhance the infrastructure and reduce damage to the environment

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    tangle of power lines in tokyowikipedia/commons

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