Letter From The Bureau Podcast: Tree huggers' outcry as Japan plans to chop thousands of trees to pursue development

As part of plans to redevelop the leafy Meiji Jingu Gaien area in Tokyo, about 1,000 gingko trees are set to be felled while nearby cafes such as Shake Shack are set to be demolished. ST PHOTO: ROCHELLE KOPP

Synopsis: Every first Friday of the month, The Straits Times' foreign editor Bhagyashree Garekar chats with ST’s correspondents in the Asia-Pacific, the US and Europe. They talk about life as it goes on, amid the screaming headlines and bubbling crises. 

In this episode, she chats with ST's Japan correspondent Walter Sim. 

Ahead of, ironically, the World Horticultural Exposition in 2027, a row of 280 sakura trees in Yokohama are due to be chopped down for roads to be widened across Japan, trees - some of which are more than a century old - will be felled in urban areas and public parks to make way for gleaming sports complexes, glamping sites, shopping malls and office buildings - not to mention the large plots of forests that have been levelled to place solar panels.

Tree huggers nationwide claim that the authorities are paying lip service to the United Nations' sustainable development goals.

Highlights (click/tap above):

2:05 Growing pushback against plans across Japan to chop trees down

5:35 How Tokyo's Meiji Jingu Gaien area is in itself, a tourist attraction with its 1,000 century-old trees

7:10 How tree lovers are arguing their case

9:25 Are Japanese politicians reacting at the national level?

Read Walter Sim’s article here: https://str.sg/wHYB

Produced by: Bhagyashree Garekar (bhagya@sph.com.sg), Ernest Luis, Hadyu Rahim & Eden Soh

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim

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