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2. Pushing forward with the future-oriented “Grand Reform of Tokyo” that will create the “new Tokyo”

Three pillars to strengthen the foundation for sustainable growth

To strengthen the foundation for Tokyo and Japan’s sustainable growth beyond 2020, this year, we will develop future-oriented policies based on three pillars: bolstering Tokyo’s urban power, enhancing Tokyo’s earning potential, and connecting people.

Bolstering Tokyo’s urban power

Along with strengthening anti-seismic measures for the earthquakes that strike Japan on a regular basis, now is the time to firmly take action from both mitigation and adaptation approaches to address climate change, which is said to be a cause of “disaster-level” extreme heat and frequent torrential rainstorms. Ceaseless efforts to shore up preparations against threats and raise the city’s urban power are essential to achieving Tokyo’s sustainable growth. We will advance the bolstering of Tokyo’s urban power from a broad perspective, including improving the city’s functionality and appeal.

A Tokyo that makes money

With a population that is on the verge of declining and further aging, and increasingly intense international competition between cities, unless Tokyo strategically raises its money-making potential, it will not be possible for the city to lead the sustainable growth of all of Japan. We will aggressively develop measures for a prosperous Tokyo, including measures aimed at invigorating small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are the source of Tokyo’s industrial strength, and implement growth strategies that attract investment from overseas.

Connecting people

People have always been the driving force behind Tokyo’s prosperity and will continue to be so into the future. An environment that enables all types of people to fully demonstrate their abilities will indeed steadily raise Tokyo’s vitality. And, people’s abilities are further enhanced when they connect with others. Following such a belief, by advancing initiatives that connect people, we will create a Tokyo that is a mature city brimming with the vitality of a diverse population.

I was privileged to have worked under Taichi Sakaiya, who suddenly passed away the other day, when he served as Minister of the Economic Planning Agency. He helped bring me up as a Vice-Minister of the agency.

Mr. Sakaiya had the ability to capture a broad overview of the times from a bird’s eye perspective and to also zoom in on people’s lives and consumer sentiment. This accurate analysis is now again being highly praised. Mr. Sakaiya indicated that the biggest danger to present-day Japan lies in the “three no’s,” specifically, “no ambition, no dreams, and no sense of purpose.” I believe that is exactly why we must utilize the power of the people to build a Tokyo that allows its citizens to have ambition, dreams, and a sense of purpose.

Strengthening policies to realize the three cities, and looking even further into the future

Advancing measures based on the aforementioned three pillars will lead to realization of the “Safe City,” “Diversity” (Diverse City), and “Smart City” concepts. To make that even more certain, last month, we announced “Strengthened Policies for the Realization of the Three Cities.” As with last fiscal year’s strengthened policies, this year’s edition aims to further enhance policies contained in the Action Plan for 2020. The plan also sets forth initiatives for a mutually beneficial and prosperous relationship with other areas of Japan, including expansion of opportunities for SMEs nationwide to receive business orders and promotion of the use of Japanese timber. In addition, the plan clearly indicates that promoting these policies will contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which Tokyo is also actively working to achieve. We will vigorously advance policies that are for a great cause and which empathize with the people to steadily realize the “three cities.”

Now, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, which will serve as the springboard to further transform Tokyo, approaching next year, we are also entering the stage of laying out the specific path Tokyo should follow after 2020. We will advance the study of a new long-term plan to serve as the blueprint for us to forge Tokyo’s bright future beyond 2020 together with the people of Tokyo. Using the resources of the entire TMG, we aim to formulate within the year a new concrete vision that will serve as the goal for Tokyo to aim for after the Games.

A budget that paves the way to the future

We will steadily promote strategic measures for realizing the “three cities,” as well as final preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Games. And, based on a wise spending perspective, we will maintain a strong fiscal foundation. From this standpoint, the budget we have drawn up for fiscal 2019 invests resources where they are needed much better than any previous budget. We have incorporated 411 new programs, increasing the general account budget to 7.461 trillion yen -- the largest ever. Meanwhile, we thoroughly reviewed measures and by releasing the results of a record 1,208 program reviews, we were able to cut costs and secure a record 90 billion yen. I believe that by reflecting the requests of the members of this Assembly and various groups, as well as proposals submitted by the people of Tokyo and university researchers, we have truly brought together the knowledge of Tokyo to successfully create a budget that “paves the way to the future.”

Due to the recent tax system revisions by the national government, Tokyo’s budget is expected to lose about 880 billion yen in tax revenues annually from fiscal 2021. Together with all of the members of this Assembly, I have worked tirelessly to voice our opposition to these absurd measures. I would like to again express my thanks for all of your efforts during this time. Although the TMG has been able to maintain a fiscal balance through relentless effort, the situation around us is growing increasingly severe due to this tax system revision and uncertainty regarding the direction of the global economy, on top of a tax revenue structure that is unstable to begin with. While maintaining sound finances by continuing to eliminate wasteful spending and other means, we will undertake effective investments that open up the future, and pursue sustainable and strategic metropolitan administration.

Constantly enhancing the capabilities of the TMG

With respect to metropolitan administration reform that is steadily progressing in accordance with the Reform Plan for 2020, in the next fiscal year, we will further raise convenience for the citizens of Tokyo, including accelerating what we are tentatively calling “digital work reform,” which will digitize TMG administrative procedures and operations, and advancing the testing of cashless payment using QR codes at Ueno Zoo. And, concerning the main programs of TMG bureaus for which analysis has been completed through “reform to enhance visibility,” we will ceaselessly work to raise the quality of reform, such as introducing “policy evaluations,” so that bureaus can continue to implement autonomous and comprehensive review.

With respect to extra-governmental organizations that work with the TMG as members of the “TMG group” to realize policies, we will merge the two organizations responsible for Tokyo’s water business and also establish a new organization to address new challenges faced by the metropolitan government. We will build a framework to further accelerate policy implementation by elevating the capabilities of the TMG group, such as doubling the placement of outside human resources in full-time executive positions. In addition, as the environment surrounding the metropolitan government continues to go through major change, we aim to set forth the direction to be taken with respect to restructuring the TMG organization next fiscal year. As the very first step, we will establish three new TMG offices to handle matters related to growth strategies, housing policies, and youth issues.

We will leverage a highly productive TMG organization where a reform mindset has taken root, as well as a budget that paves the way to the future, to boldly implement improved policies. While focusing on the current situation, of course, we will also look toward the future, and continue to aggressively advance the grand reform of Tokyo, which will create a “new Tokyo” that is full of dreams and vitality.

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