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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 September 18 - 24  > Residents question Gunma’s plan to build convention center
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2013 September 18 - 24 [LOCAL ECONOMY]

Residents question Gunma’s plan to build convention center

September 18, 2013
Residents in Gunma Prefecture are raising concerns over the prefectural government’s plan to build a large convention center at a former racetrack site.

The planned construction site is about 11 ha and located about 1 km from Takasaki terminal station in Gunma. The prefectural government plans to build a major complex that will include various halls for exhibitions and conferences.

With the aim to begin construction in 2015, the local government estimates that the convention complex will bring 1.07 million visitors and 20 billion yen in economic benefits to the prefecture every year.

Meanwhile, the government’s survey results show that the largest number of residents who responded to the survey want the site to be turned into a park, followed by those who want medical, sports, or art-related facilities to be built there.

The construction of large convention complexes has been promoted throughout the nation since the 1980s. As some experts see the market as being already saturated, such facilities in rural areas are having a hard time remaining afloat.

According to research conducted by the Gunma prefectural government, none of ten major companies hosting large conventions felt that Takasaki is an attractive city to hold such events.

“Considering the stagnant economy, the rapid decrease in population, and financial difficulties, the construction plan is unwelcomed and out of touch with reality. The site should be used as an open space for anti-disaster purposes,” said an official of a residents’ association in a district near the former racetrack site.

Gunma Prefectural Assembly members of the Japanese Communist Party criticize the local government’s construction plan as pursuing an imaginary “economic effect” and being completely out of touch with the needs of residents. They demand that the local government rewrite the plan to use the site to benefit local residents.
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