By Alan Boyle (MSNBC) It sounds like a story ripped from the parody-filled pages of The Onion, but some Japanese lawmakers really do want to build a "backup city" that would take over the functions of Tokyo, including tourism, in the event of a catastrophe. The idea was floated last month at a Tokyo luncheon, with a follow-up in The Telegraph last week. "The idea of being able to have a backup, a spare battery for the functions of the nation ... isn't this really a good idea?" Hajime Ishii, a parliamentarian representing the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, was quoted as saying. Support for creating an urban Plan B has grown in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in March and led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis. "Preparations are already under way at various levels at various levels to find ways of mitigating possible far-reaching consequences of a much-expected earthquake striking Tokyo," the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan said. The lawmakers' plan calls for building an urban center known as IRTBBC (Integrated Resort, Tourism, Business and Backup City) or NEMIC (National Emergency Management International City) on the 1,236-acre site currently occupied by Osaka International Airport at Itami. Today, Itami is used only as a secondary hub for domestic flights, operating in the shadow of the newer Kansai airport. Cosmic Log - Will Japan build a backup Tokyo?