Japan’s tallest building opened this week. Asia’s third-biggest metropolitan economy aims to lure tourists and stem businesses from moving to Tokyo.
Kintetsu Corp. (9041), one of the main rail operators in western Japan, spent 130 billion yen ($1.3 billion) and four years constructing the 300-meter (984-foot) Abeno Harukas skyscraper, according to the Osaka-based company. It will surpass the 296-meter Landmark Tower in Yokohama, about 20 miles south of central Tokyo.
The new 60-floor complex, which includes a Marriott International Inc. (MAR)hotel, and a separate proposal for a 500 billion-yen casino resort are the latest attempts to bolster the city’s economy. Rather than tall towers, the metro area of 11 million people may need business zones with fewer regulations, according to Rakuten Securities Economic Research Institute.
“The building will be a success, but total demand won’t improve,” said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at the institute. “Osaka should try special economic zones and create new businesses from those zones.”
Japan wants to spur growth by easing restrictions in test zones under economic reforms pushed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The government is considering measures from cutting corporate taxes to loosening building restrictions in the zones.