Utility poles to be removed from 4,000 km of roads

Japan's land ministry says it plans to remove utility poles and bury overhead cables along 4,000 kilometers of roads across the country over the next five years.

The ministry is working to increase the percentage of roads without utility poles to help mitigate damage from natural disasters and improve scenery.

The plan is focused on roads used to access evacuation centers and transport emergency relief goods in urban areas. The ministry also wants to eliminate utility poles near World Heritage sites and major sightseeing spots.

In recent years, typhoons have caused a lot of damage in Japan.

In 2019, Typhoon Faxai hit Chiba Prefecture, which is located east of Tokyo. It knocked down many utility poles, and that caused power outages in 930,000 households in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Ministry officials say it is a challenge to remove existing utility poles, while stopping new ones from being installed. They say they hope to work with businesses and organizations to better cope with disasters.