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I am Yuriko Koike, the new Governor of Tokyo. In opening the third regular session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in 2016, I wish to relate my basic stance on future metropolitan administration.

First and foremost, I would like to speak about the issue of relocating the food wholesale market to the Toyosu district. I understand that the political parties and factions of this Assembly have been working hard for many years on the issue of relocating the aging Tsukiji market to its new site in Toyosu. Business operators at the market have also extended their cooperation to the relocation project after giving much serious thought to this matter, which could put their operations at risk of folding. However, I must say that the recent developments have cost the metropolitan government the trust of Tokyo citizens. I imagine many citizens groaned when they saw past and current metropolitan government officials concerned with this issue saying things like "I haven't heard that" or "I didn't know that."

Tremendous time and much effort will be needed to regain the trust lost. We must identify those accountable. Who decided what, when, and where? What did they hide? We have an obligation to pursue the cause of this problem.

Now, at this time when we face the big task of preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we must seriously discuss what must be done to ensure that such a situation never arises again. Also, we need to thoroughly disclose information. If there are any problems with the nature of the organization as a whole or how decisions are made, they must be changed now. I want to turn this into an opportunity to transform the sentiments of the citizenry into anticipations toward a new metropolitan administration.

The goal is, always, to build an administration that puts the citizens first. This is my creed, and I believe it is a goal I can also share with you, the members of this Assembly who represent the citizens.

This session of the Assembly opened today, and the Tokyo citizens will be watching the debate from a totally different perspective than before. We will have our entire decision-making process open to the public -- rather than allowing Assembly members, the governor, and Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) officials to wrap things up behind the scenes through collusion or the "nemawashi" (prior consultation for consensus building) approach. I entreat you to swiftly approve matters and initiatives that require immediate action for the benefit of our citizens.

We will bring in ideas and opinions that serve not the interests of the governor or the members of this Assembly, but those of our citizens, and hold heated discussions on what each of us believes would maximize the interests of our citizens as a whole. That is what I believe is the form the Assembly should take under the new metropolitan administration. Now, again, let me speak about my basic stance on metropolitan administration.

1.My vision for the world's best city

"Grand reform of Tokyo" My determination represented by these four words gained the strong support of Tokyo's citizens, and resulted in much more extensive support in the gubernatorial election than I had expected. My grand reform of Tokyo means greater transparency, information disclosure, and realizing a government that is advanced with our citizens.

During my election campaign, the number of people who came out to hear me speak increased with every passing day. I felt how badly people want metropolitan administration to be more visible and understandable, and how strongly they want it to be reformed for their sake. I must do whatever it takes to fulfill the strong mandate entrusted to me by the citizens of Tokyo. I now have a renewed sense of responsibility.

Launch of the Office of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Reform

The essence in promoting the grand reform of Tokyo is transparency -- taking thorough measures to make metropolitan administration more visible and easy to understand. To this end, each and every TMG employee must take it on themselves to carry out reforms, and while maintaining the stance of actively disclosing information, always review how they proceed with their work.

Let me remind you of the words, "wise spending." Large tax revenues must not lead to any loss of perspective in spending taxpayers' money effectively. This is particularly important given that we cannot take this rich revenue for granted under today's global political and economic uncertainty. Faced with this problem, we have established the Office of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Reform, headed by me, as a mechanism to awaken the spirit of self-reform within the TMG.

Currently, the bureaus of the TMG are each advancing reform on their own in collaboration with the Office of TMG Reform. At the same time, the teams organized within the Office -- the Transparency Team, Olympic and Paralympic Team, and the Internal Control Project Team -- are looking into the facts and assessing the issues they are charged with, and examining what could be done to transform metropolitan administration into the one that always puts the citizens first.

In addition to scrutiny by the members of this Assembly, which is essential for the proper operation of the Tokyo government, the TMG must take it on itself to make sure its operations are more visible and advance ceaseless efforts for reform that is not an extension of past ways, and in this way, regain the trust of Tokyo citizens. This is definitely not an easy task. Some TMG employees may find this challenge to be disconcerting because it is different from what they are used to. However, for Tokyo's growth, we must instill a mindset for reform throughout the TMG right now.

To demonstrate my determination and posture for reform, a proposal to cut the governor's salary by half -- my campaign promise to the Tokyo citizens -- has been presented to this session of the Assembly. Your deliberation on this matter is highly appreciated.

Tsukiji market's relocation to Toyosu

Along with the self-reform of the TMG, the Assembly, whose role should include overseeing metropolitan administration, has also been brought into question with the issue of relocating the Tsukiji market, which I mentioned at the beginning of this speech. As the governor of Tokyo, I have the responsibility of ensuring food safety for the citizens.

However, there are three problems with the plan to relocate the market to Toyosu: safety concerns, the opaque and considerable increase in costs, and insufficient disclosure of information. That is why I decided to postpone the relocation originally scheduled for November 7.

As for safety, why was the relocation scheduled to take place before the release of the final results of the two-year monitoring of groundwater? Regarding soil contamination measures, why had the TMG given mistaken explanation that the area under the buildings were covered with a layer of clean soil? There are open spaces beneath the buildings and the presence of water has been confirmed in those spaces. What led to such circumstances, and why was the situation and information not shared? We need to make thorough investigations and have experts judge the safety of the new market once again. The relevant project team is also examining matters such as the structural safety of the new market facilities and the cost of the relocation project. I will firmly make decisions on measures to address other issues arising from this series of developments, including measures to prevent any impact on the success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and considerations toward the operators and others concerned with the Tsukiji market.

 

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