Hokkaido Prefecture is facing a growing demolition bill for the Hokkaido Centennial Memorial Tower.

The 100-meter tall tower was built in 1970 as part of the prefecture’s Centennial Project. The monolithic structure was designed by Ken Iguchi of Kume Sekkei. Construction costs were 500 million Yen. There was an elevator, but it has been out of service to the general public since the late 1970s. The observation room on the 8th floor has been accessible by several flights of stairs. 

The tower has required far more maintenance and repairs than anticipated, especially due to water leaks and rust. In 1992, 200 million Yen in repairs were carried out. A further 350 million Yen in repairs were required in 1999. The tower’s observation deck has been closed to the public since 2014. 

Demolition discussions began back in 2017, with a quote of 440 million Yen to remove the tower. In the few years since, rising labor costs and the further degradation of the structure have seen the quote balloon out to 720 million Yen (approx. US$6.3 million).

While that number may seem high, the prefecture estimates that maintaining the current tower over the next fifty years will cost over 2.8 billion Yen (approx. US$24 million), or 3 billion Yen + if the tower’s observation deck is re-opened to the public.

Tearing down 100-meter tall towers is not a cheap task. Earlier this year demolition of the 100-meter tall World Peace Giant Kannon on Awaji Island began, with the national government paying around 880 million Yen to have the crumbling structure demolished.

Source: The Hokkaido Shimbun, November 27, 2021.