The basic objective of the Grand Design, scheduled to be realized by 2015, is _the establishment of an identity for Japan in the global age through the development of a beautiful garden island that the Japanese people can be proud and where citizens can pursue new cultures and ways of life rooted in Japan_s w distinctive history and natural features._ The essence of the Grand Design is the creation of a _beautiful garden island._
This ideal of beauty was completely absent in the fourth Comprehensive National Development Plan. In the Grand Design, on the other hand, the words _environment_ and _scenery_ appear more than three hundred times. The overriding aim of creating a beautiful natural environment and living environment is spelled out very clearly. In our everyday lives we unconsciously make countless value judgments; it is impossible for us to maintain a neutral attitude. The Grand Design may be viewed as a clear statement of the values that the Japanese consider most important.
The three pillars of moral values are truth, goodness and beauty. There are now only a few countries in the world with fundamentalist cultures that recognize the truth of only one god. Unlike the people of monotheistic Muslim or Christian countries, the Japanese have a polytheistic religious outlook and relativistic view of good and evil, as reflected in the saying _If the good go to heaven, why not the bad?_ (from the Tannisho, a 13th century Buddhist treatise) . Since ancient times, the Japanese have developed a unique aesthetic sense, intensely feeling the pathos of fleeting natural phenomena such as the cherry blossoms and cultivating these emotions through the composition of waka poetry. Beauty, however, is in the eye of the beholder: the Grand Design does not attempt to define beauty. When the National Land Council determined the common aim of placing importance on the natural and living environment, the concept of creating a _beautiful country_ arose spontaneously and was incorporated in the plan. The actual task of determining what form this should take will be left to the individuals and regional societies responsible for national land development.
The Concept of Multi-axis National Land and Development of Natural Residential Regions
The representative landscape of present-day Japan is the man-made cityscape of the Pacific Industrial Belt. Since this urban region extends to the west of the Metropolitan area it has been designated as the West Japan National Land Axis in the Grand Design. The rest of the country is divided according to climate, natural features, cultural heritage, and geographical characteristics into three axes: the Northeast National Land Axis covering Hokkaido and the Tohoku Region- the Japan Sea National Land Axis, Japan_s former _front door_; and the New Pacific National Land Axis, extending with the Kuroshio current from Okinawa in the south, through Kyushu, Shikoku and the Kii Peninsula to the Izu Peninsula. This concept of multi-axis national land reflects the Grand Design_s emphasis on the importance of the living environment rather than the Pacific Industrial Belt.
Four main strategies have been formulated for the realization of this plan: the creation of natural residential regions; the renovation of major cities; the development of networks linking regions; and the formation of extensive international exchange zones. The first strategy, the creation of natural residential regions, aims to develop residential regions that can receive the full range of urban services in the various regions blessed with rich natural environments that will constitute the frontiers of the new Japan. The second strategy, the renovation of major cities, will promote the development of green and pleasant urban living environments to accompany the alleviation of overcrowding in major cities through the increase of natural residential regions. The third strategy, the development of networks linking regions, aims to develop the roads, railways, harbors, air routes and info-communications networks to provide the necessary links between natural residential regions and between these regions and cities. The fourth strategy, the formation of extensive international exchange zones, aims to ensure that all regions can develop direct links with the international community, rather than via Tokyo.