What to do with public works projects has become a key issue to be addressed in the Dec. 16 Lower House election. On Sunday, just two days before the election campaign officially kicked off, the problem of Japan’s aging infrastructure was highlighted when a portion of the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway collapsed, crushing three vehicles and killing nine people. The tunnel opened for use in 1977.

A large part of Japan’s infrastructure was built during its high economic growth period. Therefore, it is imperative to check the safety of aging infrastructure, including railway tracks, roads, bridges, tunnels and river banks, and carry out necessary repairs.

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