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The Tokyo governor’s new official residence in Shibuya, built at a cost of 1.2 billion yen, was opened to reporters Aug. 19. Gov. Yukio Aoshima and his family are slated to vacate their apartment in Nakano Ward and move into the new two-story house at the end of this month.

The new structure, occupying a 2,213-sq. meter area in central Shibuya, replaces the former official residence, built at the same site in 1927.

The new 4,000-ton structure features a basement parking area, eight round-the-clock security video monitors and 16 rubber and stainless steel support pillars that are capable of absorbing the shock of an earthquake registering a 7 on the Japanese scale to 7, metropolitan officials said.

The residence includes the governor’s office, reception rooms, conference rooms as well as private quarters for the governor’s family.

“There are a variety of opinions. Some say it’s too large and luxurious and others say it’s rather poor-looking,” Aoshima said, commenting on his new home. “Anyway, I believe such (an official residence) is acceptable as a facility of the metropolitan government,” he said.

During construction of the new residence, the metropolitan government had rented a Nomura Securities Co. guest house adjacent to the compound for use as the official residence.

But Aoshima opted to live in the Nakano Ward apartment because he considered the 3 million yen monthly rent for the guest house to be too high for a government suffering financial difficulties and trying to cut back on its budget.

The new compound was designed in line with Aoshima’s top priority policy, to dramatically improve the practice of recycling in Tokyo. The compound’s white curtains are made up of fibers recycled from bottles of polyethylene terephthalate, more commonly known as PET bottles.

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