Photo: Google Maps
A nearly-bankrupt town on the outskirts of Osaka has proposed renting out the name of the community to a company or organisation.The unorthodox effort to raise cash for the city that is presently known as Izumi-Sano has yet to be approved by the local government but it could see maps being changed to include Sonytown, Mitsubishiville or Seiko City.
Large sporting arenas have already adopted the name of sponsors, in Japan and the rest of the world, but this would be the first city in Japan to sell its name, local officials told the Yomiuri newspaper.
“We will employ every means possible to solve our severe fiscal condition,” a senior city official told the newspaper. “As our city is home to Kansai Airport, we believe that companies will have the ability to transmit information to the rest of the world.”
Home to just over 100,000 people and just to the south of Japan’s second-largest city, Izumi-Sano hosts the headquarters of new budget airline Peach Aviation, the Rinku Gate Tower Building – at 840 feet tall the second largest building in the country – and a campus of Osaka Prefecture University.
In conjunction with the opening of Kansai Airport in 1994, the city authorities embarked on a major expansion of its facilities in the belief that it would attract numerous firms to the region. The global slump halted those ambitions in their tracks and tax revenues have failed to grow.
For the last three fiscal years, Izumi-Sano has been supported by funding from the national government.
Forced to take drastic measures, the government is proposing to accept applications from companies, both foreign and domestic, between June and November. Firms applying to rename the city will have to specify how much they are willing to pay for a contract of between 12 months and five years.
The city is also willing to have the name of the city hall sponsored, as well as roads throughout the municipality.
Companies will also be invited to place advertisements on the uniforms of municipal employees, including refuse collectors, library staff and bureaucrats in the city hall.
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