A manhole cover in a Tokyo. A Japanese city says it is beginning to invite companies to put advertising on manhole covers to help finance its sewerage management. (Shutterstock/livcool)
A Japanese city says it is beginning the nation's first project to invite companies to put advertising on manhole covers to help finance its sewerage management which has been bleeding red ink in recent years.
Tokorozawa city in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, said it recently began offering advertisement spots on 38 manhole covers on busy sidewalks on a first-come-first-served basis.
An advertiser will pay an initial fee of 40,000 yen ($360) and a monthly rate of 7,500 yen under a three-year contract. The city says the first advertisement will appear in October.
The city government incurred a deficit of over 300 million yen in its sewage management operation in fiscal 2016 and is expecting a further deficit of more than 400 million yen in fiscal 2017.
"By increasing the number of manhole lids available (for advertising), it could become a good revenue source in addition to the regular charge (for wastewater treatment). We hope that the project will succeed and spread throughout the country," a city official said.
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