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Utility poles and crisscrossing overhead power lines are a common feature of the landscape in most parts of Japan. These eyesores are not worthy of an advanced economy and are also disappointing tourists from abroad. Burying power cables will not only aesthetically improve urban landscapes but also make towns and cities more resilient to major disasters. Now the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are providing an impetus to efforts to remove utility poles in the capital and bury power cables underground. The government and the Diet should take steps to promote similar efforts across the country.

The metropolitan government adopted a plan in 2014 to bury power lines in central Tokyo areas where venues for the Olympics will be concentrated. In a recent policy speech, Gov. Yuriko Koike expressed her resolve to push efforts to move the capital’s power grid underground. The efforts in Tokyo, if they bear fruit, should help promote similar moves in other parts of the country.

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