A giant convention-exhibition complex was opened Jan. 10 in central Tokyo when Gov. Yukio Aoshima and other invited guests cut the opening ribbon.Built by the metropolitan government on the site of its old offices, which are now in western Shinjuku, the Tokyo International Forum includes a hall with 5,012 seats. It took more than four years to build the 165 billion yen complex.Metropolitan officials said the complex is equipped with state-of-the-art audio and stage facilities, including simultaneous interpretation equipment for up to eight languages at one time. “I believe the opening of this international forum, which will be a base for international exchanges, has particular importance” given Tokyo’s increasing weight in terms of cultural and economic activities, said Aoshima in his opening speech.The complex enjoys a location that “couldn’t be better” — situated in Yurakucho, one stop from JR Tokyo Station, he said. The opening of the facility is expected to boost activities at similar convention complexes in the Kanto region, including Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture and Pacifico Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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