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Updated on August 8, 2017

Speech by the Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, at the First Extraordinary Session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, 2017

In opening the first extraordinary session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in 2017,I would like to say a few words.

First, natural disasters such as record-setting torrential rains have raged across Japan. I would like to extend my sympathies to those who have been affected.

On July 18, St. Luke’s International Hospital Honorary President Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, who was also an Honorable Citizen of Tokyo, passed away at the age of 105. He continued to practice medicine and remained active to the end of his life, and his example has taught us a great deal. I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

Now, I would like to congratulate the 127 assembly members who won the trust of the people of Tokyo in the recent Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election. Please accept my heartfelt congratulations. I hope to build a new metropolitan administration with you that can truly carry out the mandate of the citizens of Tokyo. I look forward to working with you.

The world is changing at a very rapid pace. Taking a look at recent world affairs, it is impossible not to be strongly reminded of this fact. For example, the situation has changed in the European Union (EU) where there was even concern that Brexit could trigger a domino effect of other countries leaving the union after the UK. With developments such as the partnership forged by the leaders of Germany and France, which has been referred to by the media as “Merkron,” a portmanteau of Chancellor Merkel and President Macron’s names, EU unity appears to be restrengthening. The threat posed by North Korea also continues to escalate at an alarming rate with the country repeatedly launching missiles over a short period.

We must achieve a sustainable Tokyo that does not fall behind the rapidly and constantly changing global trends, and does not fail to prepare for the future, including dealing with the eventual challenges we will face as a super-aged society. Based on this thinking, in my first year as governor, I have been advancing the grand reform of Tokyo, while committing to the three principles of putting the people of Tokyo first, information disclosure, and wise spending. At the end of last year, we prepared The Action Plan for 2020, which charts a concrete course to realizing the three “cities” of Tokyo -- Safe City, Diversity (Diverse City), and Smart City, and are rolling out a wide array of policies based on the plan.

While doing so, I always keep in mind the importance of focusing on the people -- the source of Tokyo’s dynamism -- while creating a “big vision” for the metropolis and watching out for each and every citizen of Tokyo. As an example, we will advance a multi-tiered approach to eliminating waitlists for childcare in order to do away with the current situation which forces many women to choose between child rearing and a career. In addition, to help put an end to educational inequality brought about by income inequality, we will work to reduce the burden of private high school tuition for households up to a certain income level. We have been taking such detailed measures that focus on addressing the issues the people of Tokyo face. I shall continue to stand with the people of Tokyo and create a Tokyo where all can live with peace of mind and lead active lives. I am reaffirming my commitment to do so.

To achieve this, it is essential that I engage in constructive debate that puts the citizens of Tokyo first with you, the members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, who represent the people of all districts of Tokyo. As a result of the recent election, we now have a record 36 female assembly members. As women, who possess a finer consumer perspective, your greater participation in the decision making forum for the metropolitan government will, I believe, bring even more depth to metropolitan services for the people of Tokyo. I expect you to stringently check metropolitan affairs and make a wide range of proposals. And, by holding open discussions, we will create a bright future for Tokyo. With interest in metropolitan administration and the Metropolitan Assembly at an all-time high, I hope to advance a government that is not just in the interest of some, but serves all of the people of Tokyo. And, I hope that we will continue to pursue reform in our respective capacities to improve Tokyo.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will serve as the springboard that will enable Tokyo to make great strides toward the future that awaits beyond the Games. It goes without saying that the next three years, which will serve as the run-up to the Games, will be the most crucial time for Tokyo. In addition to making the Games a resounding success, we, the politicians entrusted with leading Tokyo during this period, are also charged with the epic task of building a foundation for Tokyo’s growth that will continue 50 years, 100 years into the future. I look forward to working closely with President Daisuke Ozaki and Vice President Keiichi Nagahashi, and the entire assembly. As we firmly grasp the current state of Tokyo and global trends, I hope that we will advance the two wheels of the metropolitan government at an even faster pace, dedicating ourselves to together accomplishing the work that needs to be done for the benefit of the people of Tokyo. I sincerely request your understanding and support.

At this extraordinary session, we have proposed a bill to approve the appointment of audit and inspection commissioners. I look forward to your support and deliberations on this matter.

This concludes my speech to the Assembly. Thank you very much.

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