画像は以下のサイトから。 We demand that upcoming construction to convert Miyashita Park in line with plans for a “Miyashita Nike Park”, as announced on June 18 by the Shibuya Ward government, be halted and the plans be withdrawn for the following two reasons. First, the plans to convert Miyashita Park are exceedingly detrimental to the park’s value as a public property. Second, the plans to alter the park were prepared and decided in a manner highly inappropriate in view of democratic processes and society. Reason One: The plans violate the park’s value as a public property (1) Does the entry of Nike mean an end to the trees (i.e. 無い木) in the park? At the time of the announcement in June, neither the Shibuya Ward Assembly nor the media have shared the most important element of this plan with the public. That is the fact that, in order to convert the park, they will cut down its trees. As a matter of fact, in the space where they plan to construct the sports park (for skateboarding and rock climbing) there already exists many large Japanese Zelkova and other trees. These large, mighty trees are a dear part of the very scarce greenery currently found in the area surrounding Shibuya station.  By the terms of this plan, Nike Japan will be “endowing” the ward with a sports park. However, is an “endowment” of a sports park really necessary to the point that we’d wish to cut down the expanse of trees already there?  Does destroying green spaces for the sake of building sports parks really suit the worth we see in our public spaces?  This plan goes against recent trends in preserving and protecting greenery in urban spaces. (2)We will be losing a free, non-consumerist space  At present, Miyashita Park is a place where anyone can go, at no cost, for a rest or a break. Such spaces are incredibly valuable in extremely developed consumerist urban areas like Shibuya. Also, as the gap between rich and poor grows wider in modern-day Japanese society, it is of utmost importance that people with little resources have a place to go that does not cost them any money. This plan will violate the public worth of Miyashita Park by dramatically limiting who will be able to use it. (3)Breakdown of the safety net  There is no denying that the current economic crisis is giving rise to increasing numbers of people who have lost their places of residence, i.e. the “housing poor”, and in the midst of this Miyashita Park serves a very real function as a “safety net”. Currently about 30 people live in the park, and we will surely continue to need such spaces in the future. We hardly think it right that the government, which has no present policy for effectively helping the housing poor, would nonetheless decide to eliminate a park that serves a clear function as a “safety net”. The Shibuya ward government is also trying to take space located underneath its Ward Office away from homeless persons with no other place to go. This is another example of their lack of understanding regarding the problems faced by the housing poor. Reason Two: The use of inappropriate processes ignoring democratic procedure  This plan deviates far from the scope of a simple contract for naming rights and involves the conversion of the actual interior of the park. Nevertheless, over the last year, Shibuya ward has blatantly refused to make any information public, neglected to release the basic plan, failed to open the issue to the public for comments, and has not even had the matter heard or discussed within the local assembly. Surprisingly, the plan is being advanced despite the fact that it was never voted on or passed in the Shibuya ward assembly.  In addition, when there are so many major corporate sportswear manufacturers in the world, why Nike Japan? There is no evidence that open competitive bidding ever took place. It appears that Nike was the only company under consideration from the start. Why have such a fundamental practices of democratic societies everywhere been ignored? Shibuya’s mayor should not be able to manage public property like a personal possession.  Unless the undemocratic processes utilized in arranging for plans to construct the sports park are abandoned and we are able to return to square one in order to decide on the future of our public spaces through open public discussion of the facts, then there will be no legitimacy to the “Miyashita Nike Park” plan.

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