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Tokyo stations take out the trash (cans)

Bin and gone: Tokyo stations take out the trash (cans)

Tokyo’s Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation has announced that it will be removing all trash cans from its stations by 9 May 2022.

Passengers using the Asakusa, Mita, Oedo and Shinjuku subway lines (collectively known as the Toei Subway) will be affected, as well as the Nippori-Toneri Liner which connects Nippori and Minumadai-shinsuikoen stations.

In a statement, the bureau admitted: “It is not possible for station staff to continually monitor the trash cans. We have resolved to remove all trash cans to strengthen countermeasures against terrorism and the like.”

The move follows a similar step on Tokyo’s Metro stations (the other subway network in the city) in January, and their removal is expected to save a lot of money. In 2021, the bureau says it spent ¥100m (over £600,000) on collection and removal of trash.

Since the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway, large numbers of public trash cans were removed from the city as a way to reassure the public. In train and bus stations in particular, those that remained moved into spots that were easier for station staff to monitor, and in some cases changed to have clear plastic exteriors so they could be examined easily.

Despite this lack of widely available public bins, Tokyo is still renowned for its cleanliness and low levels of littering. While these general waste bins are being removed, recycling boxes for empty drink containers will be remaining in place next to the ubiquitous vending machines spread throughout the stations.

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