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The Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred on March 11, 2011, not only caused tremendous damage to the Tohoku region and other areas, but also sounded an alarm for the country’s risk management in energy policy and other fields. With regard to the capital city functions that have been concentrated in Tokyo, such as the Diet, central government agencies, and commercial and financial institutions, debate have been rekindled and the ideal forms of these functions are being reexamined, such as relocating some functions to the Tohoku region as part of the reconstruction plan and building a secondary capital city in the Kansai region.
Relocation of the capital city functions has been discussed for some time. This paper reviews past discussions and argues that the focus of discussions have shifted from relocation of these functions to more realistic ideas such as substitutes or backups for capital city functions. Since relocation of capital city functions centers on the concept of concentration and dispersion, the question should also be discussed of how such relocation can be characterized in the context of decentralizing administrative authority to local governments, a central issue of today. The authors argue that the post-earthquake reconstruction should be regarded not as a temporary measure, but as an opportunity to conceive new forms of regional functions.