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The 80-year-old Industry Club of Japan building in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district, which has served as a hub for Japan’s business circles, will next month undergo reconstruction.

The building will be torn down and reborn as a 143-meter high-rise through a joint development project with a neighboring office building. At the same time, part of the historic structure will be preserved and used as an annex to the new high-rise.

The 80-year-old building, which survived the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and escaped seizure by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers after World War II, attracts many visitors, especially experts on architecture and interiors.

A Japanese architect designed the Western-style building in the style that was a popular in Japan during the 1912-26 Taisho Era.

The six-story building, located one block from JR Tokyo Station in Chiyoda Ward, was built in 1920 as the headquarters of the Industry Club of Japan, one of the country’s oldest business organizations.

“At that time, industrialists in the textile and mining business are said to have gathered here to discuss the economy and development of the country. Although many people think of us as a social club, we were established as a business organization,” said Akira Fukushima, a spokesman for the secretariat of the organization, founded in 1917.

The country’s leading business organizations, including the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) and the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), were born out of the activities of the Industry Club of Japan, Fukushima added.

After other business organizations took over such roles as proposing policies to the government, the Industry Club of Japan came to strengthen its role as a place for business leaders to socialize, Fukushima said.

The building’s facilities include a lounge, lecture hall and a dining room. The building also accommodates business offices.

The Industry Club of Japan, which has 500 corporate members and some 1,000 individual members, owns the building, while Mitsubishi Estate Co. possesses the land.

However, the building, which is not equipped with a modern air-conditioning system, is now considered obsolete and not earthquake-proof.

After a series of discussions, a committee of experts in such fields as architecture and city-planning came up with a proposal combining the preservation of the original building with construction of a new building.

Based on the proposal, the dining room and lecture hall will be preserved and some of original construction materials, including pillars and floors, will be reused due to their historic and architectural value, Fukushima said.

Dismantling the building is expected to take about one year, and construction of the new building is expected to be completed in 2004 at a cost of about 35 billion yen.

“It will take a year to tear down the building because we will be checking to see whether parts of it can be preserved or not while the work is being done. We hope that the serenity of the building will remain (in the new building),” Fukushima said.

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