Friday, February 03, 2012

The Construction State, Crumbling

From Jiji Press:
2 Japan Ministries Warned of Poor Infrastructure Maintenance

Tokyo, Feb. 3 --Japan's infrastructure and health ministries have failed to carry out sufficient maintenance of public infrastructure, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Friday.

The Internal Affairs Ministry urged the two ministries to improve the management of infrastructure under their supervision, including ports, airports, water and sewage systems, and rivers.

Many of such facilities in Japan were built during the nation's postwar economic boom, and adequate maintenance is now required to help prolong the lives of the aging facilities.

The Internal Affairs Ministry conducted a survey on the conditions of part of such infrastructure facilities between fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2010.

During the five years, no regular maintenance work was conducted at 13 of 18 ports managed by local governments and five of nine state-managed airports, the survey showed.
To the above the Nihon Keizai Shimbun adds that at 7 of the airports, 80 different areas in need of maintenance remained untouched and at 19 water treatment facilities, 6 were not carrying out regular inspections. (J - but beware of rapid link rot)

This was always on the horizon: how would it ever be possible to maintain original facilities built in the high growth era when the countryside was slathered with new but basically unneeded facilities in the slow growth era. Sure the latter tweaked the GDP figures and perpetuated the cycling of cash between the construction companies and the Liberal Democratic Party. However, the bill would eventually come due, when the country's debts and deficits would limit the amount of money that could be spent maintaining the nation-spanning concrete, asphalt, steel and glass jungle.

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