New plan spares 30% of Tokyo Post Office

Kyodo News

Japan Post Holdings Co. said Friday it aims to begin as early as this month the delayed redevelopment of the Tokyo Central Post Office, after the government approved a new plan that preserves about 30 percent of the 78-year-old property.

Internal affairs minister Kunio Hatoyama has green-lighted the new plan, which doubles the area of the building to be preserved. The Agency for Cultural Affairs, meanwhile, aims to register the site as a tangible cultural asset after renovation has been completed, according to the postal firm.

Japan Post, which is wholly owned by the government, has been planning to redevelop the landmark post office located next to Tokyo Station into a modern 200-meter tower, while preserving some of the existing building.

In late February, however, Hatoyama objected to a plan that would have demolished most of the building. Japan Post then began revising its plan and delayed the renovation project, which was slated to begin March 6.

The initial plan called for preserving only the northern part of the building, but it has now been decided that the northeastern part will also remain, after being partially reinforced.

This will increase the project cost by ¥5 billion and possibly delay the completion date.

“We will ask contractors to hurry up and aim to finish the renovation by the end of March 2012, as scheduled,” a Japan Post official said.

The change of plan will not significantly affect Japan Post’s expected annual rent revenue from tenants who will move into the new building, according to the company. Such revenue is estimated at just over ¥10 billion.

As for similar redevelopment work on the Osaka Central Post Office, the official said that as it is still at the planning stage, the company will take the Tokyo project into consideration in deciding whether to preserve any part of the building.