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05/10/2015

Otsu City to bear the cost of renovating the exterior of JR Otsu Station

The City of Otsu has signed an Memorandum of Understanding with JR West on May 8 to share the cost of renovating the exterior of JR Otsu Station, starting to rehabilitate the timeworn station itself and its surrounding area.

Mayor Naomi Koshi and Kyoto Branch Director Ushio Kurahara held a joint-press conference. Koshi underscored the importance of the renovation project, saying “We will not only renovate the exterior but also improve the area. This is just the beginning.” Director Kurahara added, “We would like to make the building seem friendly to citizens rather than surprising.”

The construction project costs one hundred million yen and will be equally borne by three organizations: the city government, the national government, and JR West. The project is scheduled to be started in autumn and to be completed in March 2016. Although the design of the building has not been determined, JR West, in consultation with the City, will attract tenants to the station building which is now deserted. The City plans to rehabilitate the surrounding area by conducting land reallocation and cruise tours in Lake Biwa Canal.

According to a survey targeted at passengers as well as companies in the area in 2014, 56.6% of the respondents answered that the renovation of the exterior should be first priority, and 55.7% of the respondents answered that the station should be proper enough to be a symbol of the capital city of Shiga Prefecture.

JR Otsu Station opened in 1975 and hasn’t experienced any major renovation project since then. The average passengers per day in 2014 is 35,306, ranking as the 6th busiest station in the prefecture.

(Chunichi Shimbun, May 9, 2015)

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