TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan should consider redeveloping Tokyo to make the capital disaster-resilient after the March earthquake highlighted investment risks and chilled foreigners' appetite for investing in the Japanese property market, a senior executive from Mori Building Co said.
"Compared to the pre-earthquake period when we witnessed a gradual recovery in the market following the 'Lehman shock', I see foreign investors taking to the sidelines," Mori Building senior managing director Hiroo Mori told the Reuters Rebuilding Japan Summit in Tokyo on Monday.
"We need strong political leadership to draw a new map for Tokyo. Without proper government policies or leadership, our economy is likely to slowly go downhill," said Mori, 50.
Japan's property market, the world's second biggest, was hit by a price slump in the wake of the global financial crisis, and has since been struggling to regain strength and attract foreign investors who turned their attention to other Asian markets.
The massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 is set weigh on the market's recovery as the country's macroeconomic outlook loses visibility.
Meanwhile, Mori said that the company, Japan's biggest unlisted property developer, is planning to increase its business exposure in China, notably Shanghai, although he declined to elaborate further.
The developer will also participate in planning a high-end shopping complex -- just like its Omotesando Hills in Tokyo -- next to its 492-meter (1,614-ft) Shanghai World Financial Center, said Mori, who is the son-in-law of President and CEO Minoru Mori, an influential real estate tycoon in Japan.
(For more on the ReutersGlobalRebuilding Japan Summit, see [ID:nL3E7HH23H])
Reporting by Mariko Katsumura; Editing by Chris Gallagher