Japanese MHLW (Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare) has announced The Children's Castle, Aoyama Theater and Aoyama Round Theater will be shutdown by the end of March 2015. The reasons given were “facility deterioration” and “children's centers have been provided nationwide”. This news has let many facility user's down. As a result, word is spreading that these facilities are endangered and seeking survival.
The Children's Castle is a only large play space for children in the metropolitan Tokyo area and is visited by a great number of families. There are various amusing programs such as musical concerts, handcraft, sports, camping and more in which children can participate. There is a child-care facility as well which supports parents who work. How well children's facilities are maintained depends on each administration meaning that if the Children's Castle is closed there will be none at all in Tokyo.
Furthermore, activities introduced by the Children's Castle are incubators of new ideas and widely spread throughout the whole the country; and the facility has an important role to play in leading other children's centers in improvements. The Infant Health Department performs specialized care for children with special need, children with Down's Syndrome, Developmental Disorder care and the mental care. It has become an irreplaceable support center for many parents of special needs children. The Aoyama Theater and Aoyama Round Theater have become a vital base to create culture as well. Aoyama Theater once had the best stage setting in Eastern Asia and it has been used for musicals and others special events. The Round Theater possesses a complete circular stage and is considered a valuable setting for performances that need a 360° viewpoint. Approximately 90% of the year it is in operation.
International contemporary dance festivals and Operetta for children have been provided in both theaters. If they are shutdown, a valuable place for cultural expression will be lost. Such a loss is irreplaceable. Closure will violate a plea for policy improvements regarding culture and art which were agreed upon on September 7, 2012; and the reality is that it is violating agreements already established and repressing culture in theater and music.
These three facilities are used by as many as 800,000 people every year, and the theaters are regarded as a priority business in the administrative review of MHLW. These buildings have strong seismic resistance to earthquakes, and they can be used for next 30 years if they are reasonably maintained. Please help preserve the existence of the Children's Castle, Aoyama Theater and Aoyama Round Theater.
We collect signatures written on paper as well as signatures on the Change.org website. All collected signatures will be submitted to the Parliament and used to have the members of Parliament to make a move towards preservation. The petition signature must be handwriting. The address and instructions for the signature are listed on the petition form.
Please download the PDF (Parliament petition signature) here →http://econ-web.net/kodomo-aogeki.pdf