Nike Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of sportswear multinational Nike, will turn a public park in central Tokyo (Shibuya Ward), Miyashita Park [ja] [宮下公園], into what they call “Nike Park” [ja]. The naming rights have already been acquired from the Ward for about 150 million Yen, which will be paid over the next 5 years, and the go-ahead for the work was given last August. Investing about 450 million Yen toward renewal of the park, Nike will provide leisure facilities such as a skate-board ground and a café, in addition to the already existing two futsal grounds.

The Coalition to Protect Miyashita Park from Becoming Nike Park (みんなの宮下公園をナイキ化計画から守る会)

We oppose the plan to make our park Nike Park for the following reasons:

1) According to the renovation plan, Miyashita Park will be converted to a park expressly for sports enthusiasts. This means that a highly public space which people have been able to freely and actively utilize up until now will be turned into a commercial space for the profit of one business. Persons who do not pay for using the park as a service, will be unable to even rest at the park. This will surely have a negative impact on society at large and generally the way in which people come together.

2) For many years, Miyashita Park has been known as a space where many citizens’ groups hold gatherings, or as a starting and ending point for local marches and events. Also, it has stood as a life-saving place where many persons forced to live on the streets can stay. This plan would unquestionably deprive groups and individuals of a space for their freedom of expression, and for their daily lives.

3) This project has been forced onto the ward by Shibuya’s mayor and a number of assemblypersons in a top-down manner. Neither the ward assembly nor the city planning council has been consulted, and almost no information can be found in materials that have been made available to the public. Also, we would like to know how Nike came to be involved in this. Nike is a corporation that gave rise to the grave problem of child labor in a number of Asian countries, with reported instances of management beating and/or molesting workers. It is highly doubtful that Shibuya-ku [Shibuya Ward] has undergone democratic processes so as to adequately reflect the will of ward residents with regard to this plan.

Further Reading:

Japan: Nike buys out name of public park (Global Voices)

3 thoughts on “Japan Park Threat: Nikization

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