Japan companies see opportunity in aging public infrastructure

Local governments across Japan all face a similar challenge in needing to upgrade roads, bridges and other aging infrastructure.

This challenge is also an opportunity for the private sector. NHK has learned that five companies and a government-backed bank are forming a consortium to help with such projects.

The companies include West Japan Railway and NTT Communications. MUFG Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank and the state-linked Development Bank of Japan are also partners in the plan.

The government estimates it will cost about 1.9 trillion dollars over the 30 years through fiscal 2048 to maintain and renovate bridges, tunnels, waterworks and other infrastructure nationwide.

Many of these structures were built during Japan's rapid economic growth from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s.

The business group plans to offer services in obtaining funding for rebuilding projects as well as use of digital technologies for safety inspections of current facilities.

The six firms plan to start the new business at the end of this month.