Kyodo News, Japan’s leading news agency, held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday to commemorate the start of construction of its new 34-story headquarters in the Shiodome district of Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

The building, Shiodome Media Tower, is being built on a 9,323-sq.-meter plot that was part of the defunct Japanese National Railways’ Shiodome freight train station.

The building will have a total floor space of 63,000 sq. meters, and parts of it will accommodate the Tokyo bureau of the Associated Press and the Shiba Park Hotel.

In 1998, Kyodo News won a tender for the “E” section of the old Shiodome station, by forming a bidding group with Toppan Forms Co., an arm of Toppan Printing Co.

In addition to 34 stories above ground, the building will have four basement floors as well as an eight-story, 3,000-sq.-meter annex.

The building, to be constructed at a cost of 50 billion yen, will be completed by June 2003.

Upon completion, Kyodo News will relocate its Japanese and English-language news divisions, as well as its subsidiaries, to the building from its headquarters in Toranomon.

Shiba Park Hotel will occupy the 25th to 34th floors of the main building.

At the 30.7-hectare redevelopment site of the former Shiodome station, construction is also under way on headquarters for several major companies, rental office buildings and condominiums.

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