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New Cable Car Construction Studied Ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Toyosu area of Koto City
Construction continues in the Toyosu area of the Koto ward, right, in this aerial photograph taken in Tokyo. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

A study is under way for the possible construction of a cable car that links 2020 Tokyo Olympics venues with a business area near the Ginza shopping district, said a mayor of the local municipal government.

A construction company is studying the feasibility of building a gondola lift that will connect Shiodome, on the western edge of Tokyo bay to Toyosu on the east, said Takaaki Yamazaki, Mayor of Koto ward, one of Tokyo’s 23 subdivisions. He declined to name the company involved because it’s still under discussion. The construction cost is estimated at 21.5 billion yen ($210 million), he said.

The ward, where half of the newly constructed competition sites will be located, is seeking to tap a growing number of overseas visitors to Japan, which increased for two straight years to 10.4 million in 2013. The Olympic Games is estimated to lure 10.1 million visitors and staff to Tokyo in a 19-day period, according to a bid document.

“The cable car would be used mainly for sightseeing and that would be very positive for Koto ward,” said Yamazaki, in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. “We first have to make sure it is in line with the regulations and whether we can attract capital to invest in the project.”

Reclaimed Land

Toyosu, an area created in 1937 on reclaimed land, is known for LaLaport shopping mall and the future location of Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. The stations for the cable car would be neighboring the market and the International Exhibition Center, Yamazaki said.

The economic effect of the games on the construction industry will be about 475 billion yen, while the property sector will lure 152 billion yen, the International Olympic Committee estimates.

“If we have the cable car, it would be a resource for tourism,” Yamazaki said, adding that if realized, it could become a new tourist attraction similar to the 634-meter (2,080-feet) Tokyo Skytree broadcasting tower or London’s cross-Thames cable car, which was built ahead of the 2012 Olympics. “No matter who you are, you would probably want to ride it once.”

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