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Planned Olympic Canoe Racing Course Threatens Tokyo Park

Photo of Kasai Rinkai Park by flickr user Yuichi Sakuraba

Photo of Kasai Rinkai Park by Flickr user Yuichi Sakuraba (CC BY-NC 2.0)

More than 13,000 people have signed a petition [ja] urging Tokyo governor and the Japanese Olympic Committee not to destroy part of Kasai Rinkai Park to build canoe racing stadium.

Tokyo and the Japanese Olympic Committee plan to build the racing course for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, despite 25 years of concerted effort in the Kasai Rinkai Park to bring back the bio-diversity lost from development and pollution.

The petition organizer describes [ja] the beauty and diversity of the nature in the park:


Kasai Rinkai Park is a world-class park in Tokyo. In its pond, grassy areas and pine forest, 226 kinds of wild birds, 140 kinds of insects, 80 kinds of spiders, 91 kinds of trees, and 132 kinds of wild grasses live. You can even see Black-faced Spoonbills, which are listed as an endangered species. Families come here to relieve their stress from city life, and take a walk or bicycle ride to enjoy the nature.

The Wild Bird Society of Japan has submitted a request [ja] in late August to the Tokyo Metropolitan Governor and Japanese Olympic Committee to change the plan to use Kasai Rinkai Park for the canoe racing.

Wildlife and animal journalist Eiki Sato wrote a message to the Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose on his blog [ja]:

葛西臨海公園は、猪瀬さんがよくご存じのように、東京都が 東京湾沿岸の汚染や埋め立てで“破壊された自然環境を再生しようと” 作った公園です。(略) 葛西臨海公園の面積の約半分は、カヌーの競技場とその施設になるという 計画なんですね。 (略) 25年もかかって取り戻した都会の中の切ない大自然。25年ですよ、 一瞬でぶっ壊して大金を使う算段なんですよ。 あの場所に、高さ9メートルの長い長いコンクリの壁でできた1万人導入の観客席の塀、似合わない事は、あなたが一番イメージできてるでしょう。

Dear Govorner Inose, as you may know very well, the Kasai Rinkai Park is a park built by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government with “the aim to rebuild the natural environment of Tokyo that had been destroyed by pollution and artificial land reclamation”. [...] The plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is that they will use half of the park for a canoeing course and its facilities. [...] With the flick of a pen allocating millions in funding, it will destroy the nature that people have worked so hard to take back over 25 years. Dear Governor, I'm sure you can easily imagine that the park with a canal and nine-meter-high wall of concrete with a capacity of 10,000 spectators will not look right in this particular location.

The post was quickly shared on social media and attracted a lot of attention, driving more than 200,000 traffic hits with 59,000 Facebook recommendations.

You can see under-represented nature of Tokyo photographed by Eiki Sato on his blog [ja].

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