Mori Building opens new development in Tokyo, part of push to revitalize the city

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. redevelopment / ˌri dɪˈvɛl əp mənt / (n.) – the act or process of changing an area, especially in a city, by replacing old buildings, roads, etc., with new ones

    The city has spent millions on downtown redevelopment.

  2. shrink / ʃrɪŋk / (v.) – to decrease in amount, size, number, etc.

    The rural town’s population shrinks every year because more and more people are moving to larger cities.

  3. scant / skænt / (adj.) – not enough

    Access to healthcare services in rural areas is scant.

  4. crammed / kræmd / (adj.) – very full of a lot of people or things

    The public transportation system during peak hours is crammed with passengers.

  5. drawback / ˈdrɔˌbæk / (n.) – the negative part of a situation

    Some drawbacks of online shopping are delayed delivery times and issues on quality.


Read the text below.

Mori Building, one of the biggest players in multibillion-dollar redevelopment projects led mainly by private developers, is putting the finishing touches on two big projects. Toranomon Hills Station Tower, a skyscraper with office space that’s part of the earlier Mori Toranomon Hills project, opened on October 6.

Mori JP Tower, a 64-story, 325-meter (1,067-foot) -tall skyscraper that will be Japan’s tallest structure, is part of Mori Building’s 600 billion yen ($6 billion) Azabudai Hills project, which is set to open this month.

More projects are in the works.

Shingo Tsuji, CEO of Mori Building, says he hopes to help Tokyo compete as a world city and destination for foreign investment. It’s a goal that has been gaining urgency as the Japanese economy has slowed while the population shrinks and quickly ages.

Tsuji took over as CEO from Minoru Mori in 2011. Tsuji inherited Mori’s vision for projects that are transforming key parts of downtown Tokyo with tower redevelopments packed with fashionable offices, luxury apartments and hotels and boutiques, surrounded by urban gardens designed to help Tokyo compete with world-class cities like New York and London.

Japan relies heavily on private companies like Mori Building in redeveloping urban areas. In the past, public-led planning was scant, with much of how a Japanese city grows and changes seemingly left to chance in the rush to rebuild. That means that vast parts of the city are crammed with tiny buildings just an arm’s length apart, along alleys too narrow for ambulances to pass through.

Christian Dimmer, associate professor of urban studies at Waseda University in Tokyo, calls Mori’s approach “a template for redevelopment.”

But he acknowledges there are drawbacks in replacing humble, lively neighborhoods with their pocket parks, shrines and alleys with towers of glass and steel.

Kei Minohara, an urban planner who knew the late Minoru Mori, said he respects his achievement but wonders about tall buildings in which residents remain strangers, rarely interacting with each other.

Life should be about community, he said, but “That is what happens when the defining of lifestyles is left to private developers.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Which do you think the government should prioritize: economic growth and foreign investment or the preservation of humble, lively neighborhoods with pocket parks and shrines? Why? Discuss.
  • Which area in your city/country do you think needs redevelopment? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Which do you think is more valuable: being able to interact in a humble space or living in luxurious spaces where people don’t interact with each other? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, is it the responsibility of developers to actively encourage community-building within their projects? Discuss.