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City Delegation Visits Osaka Transportation Bureau, JR Osaka Station

Mayor Ko Wen-je and city officials visited the JR Osaka Station and the Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau on January 29. The delegates also attended briefings by the personnel from the respective facilities.
During the visit at JR Osaka Station, Transportation Commissioner Chung Hui-yu asked about whether there are any specifications – disaster prevention plaza, parks, etc. – requiring compliance for development projects involving structures as massive as the Osaka station. Director Kawada of Osaka Planning Bureau noted that while there are no such specifications, space reserved for evacuation is necessary – a role played by the plaza outside the station.
As for how the division of labor is shared between the government, railway companies, and developers, Kawada explained that the city government is responsible for the overall blueprint. After determining the overall objective, the remaining details are filled in. Such large-scale projects cannot be handled by the city alone, so assistance from the private sector and the academia is also necessary. Economic experts will incorporate future visions into the masterplan, while the private sector takes care of construction details. The government is responsible for monitoring compliance and dealing with restrictions.
At the Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau, the delegation listened to reports on quake and flooding response measures, as well as approaches during the aftermath of disasters. For example, after the Tohoku Earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Osaka reevaluated its flood prevention planning and strengthened flood prevention mechanisms and facilities. It also took measures to secure electricity supply in case of earthquakes or other disasters. As a precautionary measure, it also assigned emergency goods (rations, warmth-retention gears, and emergency restroom kits) stockpiles at locations across the city in case power shortage makes trains dysfunctional and leaving people stranded.
After his trip to the facilities, the mayor pointed out that he has some new ideas regarding the “Gate of Taipei” project near Taipei Railway Station and will propose them in the near future after he returns to Taiwan.