Young owners of several small manufacturing firms in the "shitamachi" area of Tokyo's Ota Ward have built the nation's first bobsled in an effort to demonstrate their technological prowess despite facing a prolonged recession that has gutted the historic area of factories.

The project was proposed by Satoshi Kosugi, 36, of the Ota City Industrial Promotion Organization to "publicize" the abilities of small businesses in the area.

Ota Ward was once home to 9,000 factories, but that number has been cut in half due to the nation's long-lasting economic slump, intensifying global competition and a shortage of young people to take over the companies.