Ministry eyes tieups for old facilities

JIJI

The infrastructure ministry will consider encouraging municipal and prefectural governments to team up with the private sector to rebuild aging public facilities to cut costs and revive their economies, informed sources said.

The ministry plans to set up a panel next month to study the idea, the sources said. Based on a report from the panel, the ministry will compile guidelines by next March on how local governments can cooperate with the private sector in rebuilding old administrative buildings and other public facilities, such as housing complexes and schools, they said.

The nation is staring major infrastructure needs in the face as multitudes of public facilities built during the rapid economic expansion of the 1960s reach the end of their usable life spans.

With cities and prefectures struggling to finance such projects, the ministry is hoping deals with the private sector can save the day.

The ministry plans to use some projects as test cases for forging public-private partnerships, the sources said.

One possible option would be to construct high-rise buildings for use as both administrative offices and private-sector facilities, including condominiums, shops and company offices, the sources said.