Once I establish metropolitan administration that puts citizens first and regain their trust in the government, what will I aim for next? My goal is to realize a "new Tokyo," a city where everyone can lead lives full of hope, vitality, and peace of mind, and a sustainable city that drives the growth of Japan and is a radiant presence in the world. To this end as well, I will create the three new faces of our city -- a Safe City, Diverse City, and Smart City -- and engage in resolving challenges confronted by Tokyo and generating growth.
An environment that allows each and every Tokyo citizen to fully realize his or her potential is at the foundation of a Tokyo where all can hold hopes and lead vibrant lives. A city where everyone -- men, women, children, seniors, the disabled -- can lead fulfilling lives and play an active role. A city that embraces diversity and is filled with warmth and kindness. I will realize such a Diverse City.
Compared to the rest of the world, Tokyo has not been successful in fully realizing the potential of women. For example, let's look at the labor force participation rates of women aged 35-44. While the rate is roughly 90 percent in Sweden, where much efforts are taken to have women be active in society, it is only about 70 percent in Tokyo. This is because the age group raising children makes the dip in the so-called M-shaped curve. Tokyo will not be able to develop sustainably unless we can quickly put an end to a situation in which women are forced to make an either-or choice between child rearing and career. To realize a city where both men and women shine and our future is bright, we need to urgently tackle the problem of children waiting to enter daycare centers.
In addition to initiatives we have been taking from before, such as leveraging the National Strategic Special Zone scheme to open daycare centers in metropolitan parks, we recently compiled an emergency package to reduce the number of children on the waiting list. The package has three pillars: advance the construction of daycare centers and other such facilities; help secure and retain daycare staff; and expand support to users. It consists of 11 measures aiming for immediate and effective actions. These measures will be implemented in such a way as to encourage municipalities and other service providers to act quickly. Through the measures, we will increase daycare capacity by 17,000, which is 5,000 more than the previously set goal for this fiscal year. A supplementary budget bill to finance this initiative has been presented to this regular session of the Assembly. Your deliberations will be highly appreciated.
In addition, with an eye to tackling this issue in cooperation with the central government as well, I spoke directly with Prime Minister Abe and requested that the parental leave system, regulations on daycare centers, and other related items be reformed. Tokyo's own support measures will also be included in our fiscal 2017 budget plan. We will take an extensive and bold approach to make Tokyo a better place to raise children.
We no longer live in an age when we can assume profits will go up if we work long hours. In fact, I believe that working late into the night or commuting on packed trains could seep away the dynamism of our society.
Let's have Tokyo take the lead in promoting "life-work balance." I deliberately changed the order here of the words "work" and "life." We all need to place much greater importance on our life outside work. For example, in another comparison with Sweden, data shows that the amount of time an average Tokyo father with a child under six spends on housework and childcare is as much as two hours shorter than his Swedish counterpart at just 1 hour 17 minutes per day. If we can increase the amount of time fathers spend with their children, or share in the housework, it will most probably lead to everyone -- men, women and children -- having active and productive lives. We should increase work productivity, and also value time spent with family or personal pursuits. I believe that this private time provides people with energy for tomorrow and is what makes Tokyo's sustainable growth possible.
We need to change how we think about work and how we do our work. Let's start right here. The other day, beginning with me, all the senior officials of the TMG made the "parenting-supportive boss" declaration, aimed at creating a work place where a balance between work and private lives, including caring for the elderly and children, is achieved. The tendency for managers to judge staff who work long hours as competent will be changed, and by pursuing work efficiency, we will aim to establish a "zero overtime" work place where results are achieved within regular working hours. We aim to offer strong support to companies that commit to reforming work styles and extend this way of thinking to citizens in Tokyo and beyond. I want this to turn into a great movement by spreading these practices.
Three years ago, I had the experience of taking care of my mother at home in her last days. This experience reinforced my desire to make Tokyo a place that can accommodate the wishes of many older people to continue living in their own homes or in familiar communities.
While devising ways to build the foundation for caregiving services and to secure and retain caregivers, we will enhance the system for integrated community care, such as establishing a system in which patients can receive proper medical care in the community. Furthermore, recognizing that we are now a super-aged society, we aim to create a Tokyo where everyone can receive high quality health care and live with peace of mind.
We have been working to raise the motivation of those with disabilities by increasing the number of "social firms," businesses created for the employment of people with disabilities, which incorporate business management techniques. The other day, we opened a shop specializing in selling merchandise made by people with disabilities, in the TMG building. We enlisted the support of business management professionals to open a stylish shop offering many attractive items. We hope many people will drop by and see the high quality of the goods on offer. We will not just have society as a whole support those with disabilities, but will firmly support those with ambition or ability in realizing their desire to live independently.
In order to build the sustainable Tokyo that I have in mind, we need to nurture talent who will shoulder the city's future -- people who can take it on themselves to clear the path to the future; globally-minded people who can make contributions even in a turbulent world; and people who can generate innovation, which supports the future of Tokyo and, accordingly, that of Japan. These are the kind of talent we need to raise. For this, we must sweep away the introverted tendency of students by bolstering education in English and other foreign languages and providing support for studies abroad; nurture a spirit of taking on the world; and improve education in science and math, which are subjects necessary to sustain Japan as a science and technology leader. It may also be important to take initiatives to enhance teaching skills for teachers to be more in touch with the children. What kinds of talent are needed for the Tokyo of tomorrow? Based on these perspectives, at the Comprehensive Education Council, I will conduct discussions with the Board of Education on the form that education should take and formulate new outlines for education.
Furthermore, we must make sure that a child's future aspirations are not stifled by his or her family's economic constraints. We will firmly support children's desire to learn by advancing studies on scholarship grants unique to Tokyo and other measures.
I think one benchmark for a "Diverse City" full of kindness would be achieving the zero culling of pets. I want to help expand awareness of pets from a pet "as a member of the family" to a pet as "member of society." I aim for early achievement of this goal of zero culling, while also advancing initiatives to nurture from childhood a healthy mind that values life and has self-respect and respect for others.
Living safely and with peace of mind is the basic condition for our citizens' hopes and vitality. For Tokyo's citizens to feel assured that their lives, lifestyles and assets are protected is what gives birth to Tokyo's dynamism and energy. A city where citizens love and take pride in their thriving communities and take it upon themselves to uphold their community's safety and security -- this is the "Safe City" we aim to create.
I experienced the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. As you all know, collapsed buildings and toppled utility poles obstructed the passage of emergency vehicles, and the quick spread of fire caused extensive damage. In Tokyo as well, earthquake and fire resistance are pressing issues to address. In order to secure disaster response routes which will be crucial for rescue and recovery efforts, we will support efforts for the earthquake resistance of buildings lining these roads. At the same time, in order to mitigate the risk of spreading fires, we will support the rebuilding of homes for fire resistance in districts with close-set wooden houses and the widening of local community roads.
Another item we need to strongly promote is the elimination of utility poles. We will seek citizens' understanding of this need and the expected benefits, and raise a wide movement for its promotion. By having this momentum led to competition among contractors and innovative solutions, we will work to reduce costs, the major obstacle we face.
Along with the building of infrastructure, preparations taken from the perspective of our residents are what will make them feel more secure in the event of a disaster. For example, ready-to-use liquid baby formula, which requires no added water, will be very handy especially in times of disaster when breast feeding is difficult. We plan to sort out the existing issues, including current national regulations, and implement detailed measures to prepare for disasters.
In times of disaster, initiatives taken by the community's people to help each other serve a major role in saving lives. And it is the bonds within each community that hold the key to stronger safety and security. The more active the community, the stronger these bonds are. We will build lively, safe and secure communities by stimulating town and neighborhood associations, volunteer fire corps, shopping streets and other organizations throughout Tokyo.
The development of the Tama area and Islands, which make up a third of Tokyo's population and two-thirds of its surface area, is essential for Tokyo's vitality. I will actively visit these municipalities, join hands with them, and engage in efforts involving all of Tokyo to create a city where every citizen can live comfortably.
One of Tama's greatest strengths is its concentration of SMEs, universities, and research institutions with advanced technological capabilities, and its excellent connectivity to areas throughout the National Capital Region via the Metropolitan Intercity Expressway. Going forward, we will further develop these strengths by progressing with construction of the three ring expressways and north-south and east-west trunk roads, to foster the birth of new industries and services and contribute to Tama's sustainable development, while at the same time preserving the region's rich natural environment.
Tama and the Islands have many other precious assets, and it would be a waste if they are not promoted. There are the forests of the mountainous regions, which have a versatile role in providing lumber, absorbing carbon dioxide, and serving as places for rest and relaxation. By protecting these forests, we will promote the development of the forestry industry and broadly convey the attractions of Tokyo's forests and Tama timber. In addition, at last month's Tokyo Area Special Zone Meeting, we made a proposal to the national government to set up a "Special Zone for Island Shochu" to leverage the islands' precious local liquors as tourist attractions. By positioning such "differences" from central Tokyo as "strengths," we will work in cooperation with the municipalities to powerfully promote initiatives for community development under this new concept.
Neither must we forget disaster management that takes in the features of Tama and the Islands. Both structural and non-structural initiatives are needed for sediment disasters, such as slope protection and establishment of evacuation systems through designation of hazardous areas. And to prevent communities from becoming isolated due to roads being cut off by landslides or heavy snow, we will also work to secure alternative routes. In the Islands, where there is a high danger of tsunamis, we will take measures such as installing signs to provide guidance to safe areas, and constructing evacuation facilities near harbors where it may be difficult to reach safety before a tsunami hits land. We will advance resilient urban development to protect lives through efforts to improve disaster management capabilities, which take into account the specific nature of each region.
Facing the fact that the era of a steadily rising population and growing economy has passed, our task is to realize a sustainable Tokyo that can continue to be the engine of Japan's growth. We must boldly pursue a well-timed growth strategy for development of future growth areas, including IoT, AI and fintech.
A resource-poor country, Japan has used its negative experiences, including two oil shocks and the pollution issues brought about by rapid economic growth, as a springboard to hone its environmental and energy-saving technologies. Today, addressing global warming has become an important obligation of major cities, and we are in an age when tackling environmental issues can lead to new business opportunities and be a key factor in raising a company's social reputation. Using the opportunity provided by the 2020 Games, we will encourage further innovations in environmental technologies to achieve a low-carbon society and promote a change in attitudes toward environment-friendly business models, including measures to reduce food waste. We will also advance more urban efficiency and energy-saving through renovation work; diversification and decentralization of energy by introducing and expanding the use of renewable energies and stand-alone power generation systems, and realizing a hydrogen society; and advance measures to combat the heat island effect, among others. I wish to lead Tokyo to further growth through comfortable and eco-friendly urban development that protects our water and green spaces.
We will also support citizen's efforts for energy savings and creation, such as more expansive use of LED lights and eco-homes that are well-insulated and use fuel-cells, storage batteries, or other such systems. We want to spread support among the citizens by actively publicizing efforts that can be easily taken, and have them personally experience the specific results of such initiatives. Technological innovation, a change in attitudes, and support by the public -- using these three pillars as our strategy, we will use Tokyo 2020 as a springboard to create a new "common sense" to guide both people's lifestyles and business activities. We will create a Tokyo, a leading environment-friendly city which is full of the traditional Japanese virtue of "mottainai," and is clean, low-carbon and sustainable.
When I was working as an economic news correspondent, Tokyo was on a par with London and New York as a global financial center. But today, various other Asian cities have taken on that mantle. We must restore Tokyo to its position as number one in Asia.
We will speed up the efforts to make Tokyo a global financial hub by strengthening measures to stimulate financial activity. For example, to attract fintech companies and other foreign financial corporations, we will make full use of the National Strategic Special Zone system and accelerate the development of financial business exchange centers. In the next fiscal year, a one-stop service in English will at last become available to provide advice to foreigners in starting up a business and living in Tokyo. We will also push to attract international schools to build the schooling environment. By 2020 we plan to transform the area from Otemachi to Kabutocho, where many financial businesses congregate, into a showcase that gathers financial professionals from around the world.
There are a great number of hidden treasures in Tokyo that we should put to better use. To make the most of the traditional crafts that are a unique product of Tokyo's climate and history, while carrying on the legacy of traditional craftsmanship, we will also encourage the development of products that meet today's consumer tastes. Regarding the urban agriculture industry of Tokyo, which produces fresh and safe agricultural and livestock products, in addition to komatsuna greens, Nerima daikon radish and Tokyo X pork, we will create brand products like the successful kyoyasai vegetables of Kyoto. We will thus uncover new aspects of Tokyo, and promote them to the world by adding value, and in this way, enhance the global attraction of Tokyo.
A golden opportunity is presented now, as the whole world is watching our city in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Games. We will actively engage in increasing inbound tourism by positioning the branding of Tokyo as part of our growth strategy.
And in order to keep increasing the number of inbound travelers, it is vital to create an environment that is comfortable for overseas tourists. We will respond to the needs of various visitors such as fully using IT to set up information centers and improve multilingual services in stations and in the city, and also advance measures that do not forget fine attention to detail, such as installing more western-style toilets.
Another important task is improving the functions of Haneda Airport and the Port of Tokyo so that they can properly serve as the gateways to the global city of Tokyo.
While also working with the national government, we will take appropriate steps to meet the increasing demand for international flights and the globally increasing size of ships, so that Tokyo can continue to function effectively as a hub for people, goods, money and information from around the world. Looking beyond 2020 as well, we will further develop land, sea and air transport and logistics networks and strengthen Tokyo's transport infrastructure, which is essential for the sustainable growth of Tokyo.
We will advance the technological innovation of SMEs, which support the industries of Tokyo and Japan, as well as business startups, and while linking this to the creation of new industries, we will also support the succession of superb skills and technologies to the generations to follow. We will work to support the further development of SMEs, while also being mindful of international advancements such as supporting them in cultivating overseas markets.
Thus far, I have been speaking about the thinking behind our policies to make a "new Tokyo." From here on, I plan to advance studies to make the policies more concrete and, while also engaging in extensive discussions with the members of the Metropolitan Assembly, draw up a Tokyo 2020 action plan by the end of the year, and include this in the budget for the next fiscal year. I don't want this to be simply an extension of what has come before, but to incorporate new ideas that go beyond; we will make aggressive proposals for justifiable policies to realize our vision for Tokyo's bright future, and do in a form that receives the support of our citizens. We must also draw up a future vision of Tokyo after 2020, "Beyond 2020."