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Japan still vibrant says Far East guru

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Japan remains an attractive market for architects because its government takes a long-term view of developments, according to a leading industry figure

Conran and Partners’ Far East specialist Richard Doone told the AJ that the practice’s Japanese projects had not suffered from two recessions or the earthquake.

The London-headquartered firm is currently working on the second phase of a 400,000m² mixed-use urban regeneration scheme in Tokyo (pictured).

The Futako Tamagawa project will provide retail, office, leisure and residential buildings as well as a park.

Although the huge job was originally won in 2004, it has not been halted by the global economic crisis or by last year’s devastating earthquake. Nor was a previous Conran scheme at Roppongi Hills stopped by the country’s great economic crash of the late 1990s.

Doone, who continues to work as a consultant for Conran and Partners on its projects in Japan and Hong Kong despite having set up his own practice Paramount Architects + Designers two years ago, said: ‘In Japan, they take a very long-term view of development.

‘We were between the two phases of the Futako Tamagawa project when the earthquake hit, and it would have been easy for the government to pause and take stock. But it was business as usual.

‘I expect the sector to remain relatively buoyant. Japan has been hit by the global recession but it does have a long-term view.’

However, Doone said it was hard for British firms to come into Japan without a similar attitude.

‘It is not like going into Hong Kong or China,’ he said. ‘It would very much have to be about building relationships and visiting quite a few times to show you were serious.’

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