Nagoya TV tower losing role, future iffy

Chunichi Shimbun

Nagoya TV Tower in Hisaya Odori Park hopes to remain a tourist draw after its broadcast role ends with the July 24 full changeover to digital from analog broadcasting, but upkeep costs may doom it to the wrecking ball.

Seto Digital Tower in the city of Seto, Aichi Prefecture, will assume the digital broadcast role.

Nagoya TV Tower Co.’s hope to keep its landmark standing for tourists has been hampered by massive renovation costs.

In March, the firm unveiled a renovation plan that calls for filling the space to be vacated by the removal of analog broadcasting equipment with new restaurants and shops that will open in 2013.

Because the renovation cost is estimated at ¥3.5 billion, the company has asked the city and prefecture, the tower’s investors, to put up ¥1.5 billion in public funds to earthquake-proof the tower.

Nagoya, however, has yet to give Nagoya TV Tower Co. a firm response except to reportedly note it needs public support before committing any tax money.

The company’s board members, at a June 16 meeting, decided to delay the renovation program, which they had hoped to start this summer, until later in the year after the city compiles its future plans. The owners also opted to scale down the renovations.

Nagoya TV Tower Co. derives 30 percent of its revenues from TV stations that use its facilities to air their programs via analog broadcasting. When these services are terminated, the company will lose a major source of income.

As Nagoya’s tax revenues have effectively stagnated, injecting a large amount of public funds into the tower is difficult, and would require a strong show of public support in favor of keeping the landmark.

The tower’s current tenants plan to continue their businesses even after the termination of the analog service.

Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura also said he has no intention of dismantling something regarded as an asset. He asked the public to offer new ideas for the structure’s future use.

This section, appearing Saturdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the local daily Chunichi Shimbun. This story was compiled from two original articles published on June 27 and 28.