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Kyoto, the capital of Japan’s beautiful old empire, is rapidly collapsing

View of the temple
The file photo shows Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, Japan.

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Tokyo — Brilliant ancient monuments, Zen temples, and towering towers of Kyoto have attracted major tourists for a century. Although the population of Japanese cities is only about 1.5 million, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, the treasure trove of precious crafts in Kyoto believes in a painful reality. The capital of Japan’s magnificent empire runs empty.

Daisaku Kadokawa, the mayor of Kyoto, said at a shocking press conference last year, “We are facing a crisis situation with the prospect of going bankrupt within 10 years.”

Without significant reductions in public services, the city was expected to be in debt of $ 2 billion and all reserves would be exhausted within just five years.

Continued ban on Japanese tourists Coronavirus pandemic It was a big blow to Kyoto in particular. The city helped attract a whopping 31 million visitors to Japan in 2019 alone, but tourists are now almost down to a small number of domestic visitors. Japan’s total inbound tourism plummeted to about 250,000 last year. This is the lowest since record keeping began in 1964.

Sightseeing in Japan during Golden Week vacation
The approach to Kiyomizu-dera is full of domestic tourists during the Golden Week vacation in Kyoto, Japan on May 3, 2022. The Japanese hospitality industry is calling on the government to reopen with more foreign visitors.

Bloomberg / Getty


But pandemic-related costs and the collapse of tourism have only exposed the city’s decades of financial deficiencies. Red ink began to flow 30 years ago when Kyoto built a second subway line. The cost eventually rose to $ 4 billion. The Tozai Line failed to meet its daily passenger goals.

Authorities have also made a luxurious upgrade and refurbishment of the city hall with stained glass windows, European-style damask-covered walls, a Japanese tea room, a roof garden, and an underground corridor leading to the white elephant subway. Invested 120 million dollars. Residents find that the corridors are rarely used.

So last fall, the ax finally fell. Despite fears that tight finances could accelerate the outflow of residents from Kyoto, which is already on the alert, the city government has reduced transportation subsidies for the elderly, raised day care fees and raised salaries for civil servants. Reduced.


The lack of tourism in the Vatican during the coronavirus pandemic caused a dramatic decline in Catholic church income.

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According to a segment of the Asahi Broadcasting Network last fall, the city hall received 9,000 comments on budget cuts and widely opposed belt tightening. Some residents demanded that the city reduce the salaries of city council members, or the number and duration of politicians.

Even zoos in the city are now looking for handouts. Food makers and gardening companies donate everything from radishes, frozen melons, cucumbers to tree clippings. Last fall, it helped cut the zoo’s food budget by about 10%, Deputy Director Seitaro Wada told local Kansai Telecasting Corporation.

Japan is now moving more tentatively than ever to reopen its borders. Over the next few weeks, dozens of tourists are set to enter on a test basis. However, Hiroyuki Mori, a local finance expert at Ritsumeikan University, told YTV News that “even an increase in tourists cannot offset the red ink.”

Alley overlooking Yasaka Shrine, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
The file photo is overlooking the road in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Japan.

Shanshihan / Getty


“Local taxes and property taxes are central to local taxes,” he said, saying Kyoto lacks in both respects. With a large number of universities and a student population of 150,000, only 43% of the population pays local taxes.

High-rise office towers and condominiums (usually a favorable source of Japanese property tax) are banned in order to maintain the unique traditional landscape of Kyoto.

The city is also covered with 2,000 amazing Buddhist temples and shrines, all of which militantly thwart even attempts to change tax exemption status.

With the exception of God’s intervention, the first reduction may not be enough to save Kyoto from bankruptcy and pass on its finances to the country.

Kyoto, the capital of Japan’s beautiful old empire, is rapidly collapsing

Source link Kyoto, the capital of Japan’s beautiful old empire, is rapidly collapsing

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