Tokyo bookstore boasts roof apiary

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

Major construction firm Kajima Corp. has started beekeeping in Tokyo jointly with bookstore chain Yaesu Book Center in a project to help raise awareness of environmental protection.

Some 20,000 western honeybees are being kept on the rooftop of the bookstore chain’s eight-story building near Tokyo Station. Yaesu Book Center is an affiliate of Kajima.

“We’d like to use this bee project, which is under way in front of Tokyo Station, to spur discussion regarding city development that can sustain biodiversity,” Yoriyuki Yamada, deputy general manager of Kajima’s environment division, said Tuesday.

The bees are supposed to fly to such places as Ueno Park and the Imperial Palace, located within 4 km of the rooftop, to hunt for nectar from plant life ranging from tulip trees to cherry blossoms, Yamada said, adding the firm expects to harvest 2 kg to 5 kg of honey per week.

The Yaesu Book Center near Tokyo Station plans to give away the honey to the first 100 customers who buy ¥3,000 or more worth of books on April 23, which is World Book Day. The store also plans to offer the harvest at a cafe inside the store.

Kajima started keeping bees in 2009 at its company dormitory in Tokyo, and this is the fourth such project.