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4. Creating a Tokyo that is safe, secure, and attractive by boosting urban power

Next, I will move on to initiatives aimed at boosting Tokyo’s urban power to create a safe, secure, and attractive city, centering on measures to prepare for disasters and counter threats that arise from climate change.

Realizing a safe and secure Tokyo

Creating a city that will not collapse or burn

To fortify Tokyo to make it a city even more resilient to earthquakes, we must steadily raise the seismic resistance of buildings along disaster response routes, which will serve as lifelines for rescue and recovery when a major earthquake hits. Through the amendment to the ordinance to promote seismic reinforcement submitted to this regular session of the Assembly, we will newly establish matters such as the responsibility of building occupants to accelerate seismic reinforcement. By commencing revision of the “Plan to Promote Seismic Reinforcement” and the “Plan to Promote Disaster Resilient Urban Development” for even more effective promotion of earthquake and fire resistance, we will advance the creation of a city that will not collapse or burn.

Last year in the Kansai Region, many utility poles were knocked down by Typhoon No. 21 (Typhoon Jebi), blocking roads and causing widespread blackouts. This made me again painfully aware of the need to remove utility poles. By revising the “Plan to Promote Removal of Utility Poles” within this fiscal year to expand measures implemented by municipalities and pursue new initiatives in the Tokyo Islands, we will advance the elimination of utility poles throughout Tokyo.

Strengthening initiatives to ensure the safety of Tokyo residents

We will also work to enhance our emergency rescue systems. The Tokyo Fire Department will establish a new first responder team that can go to difficult-to-access sites to promptly assess the situation and carry out rescues when a disaster strikes. A new ambulance unit that operates during the day will also be established in order to respond to daytime ambulance demand, as well as to prepare an environment that enables employees on parental leave to easily return to work. Through the use of electric ambulances, we hope to promote energy conservation. These measures to upgrade our system will have broad positive impacts.

We will also strengthen measures to combat more personal threats. With the number of reported scams and petty fraud cases and losses resulting from such crimes rapidly on the rise, we will work to eradicate them by employing various measures, including promoting the installation of automatic phone recording devices in homes, which are highly effective as a deterrent. We will also begin providing support for the cost of maintaining security cameras in neighborhoods, shopping districts, and other areas. In such ways, we will further expand initiatives to ensure the safety of Tokyo citizens.

Housing policies to enable Tokyo citizens to live safely and with peace of mind

The increasing number of vacant homes could become a risk that threatens the safety and security of communities. We will speed up measures from the three perspectives of proper management, effective use, and preventing properties from becoming vacant, including providing support for measures taken by municipalities and promoting the continuous use of vacant homes and the appeal of renovated housing. And, concerning the number of aging condominium complexes, which are rapidly increasing, we are proposing a new ordinance to strengthen the functions of condominium owners associations. Along with clarifying the responsibilities of the TMG, condominium owners associations, management businesses, and others, we will establish a system for reporting the management situation, and by providing advice and support according to the situation, we will work to promote proper management and contribute to the formation of a pleasant living environment.

Furthermore, to secure a stable supply of housing for Tokyo citizens, effective use of metropolitan housing is vital. Recently, the Council on Housing Policy issued an interim report on matters such as the metropolitan housing management system. It advises the direction for policy, including expansion of support for households raising children and the elderly. We will study new initiatives based on the council’s upcoming final report, which is scheduled to be released in May.

Measures to combat climate change that must be advanced now

Protecting lives from threats arising from climate change

Next, I would like to speak about protecting lives from threats brought about by climate change. Along with studying the construction of new regulating reservoirs for eight rivers, we will also advance consideration of extension and other upgrades to the Ring Road No. 7 Underground Regulating Reservoir to provide solid protection against flooding. We will also promote initiatives that encourage evacuation at the appropriate time, including speeding up designation of areas such as sediment disaster hazard areas and working to spread the use of a timeline Tokyo citizens prepare and confirm themselves, which outlines the actions they should take when a disaster occurs.

To protect young children and students, as well as evacuees in times of disaster, from severe heat, a supplementary budget to advance the installation of air conditioning equipment at gymnasiums at municipality-run schools was approved at the last regular session of the Assembly. To further promote measures in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, we have included the costs of supporting installation of leased air conditioning equipment, as well as installation of units in school lunch preparation kitchens.

Aiming to realize zero-emission Tokyo

To mitigate the effects of climate change, we will also speed up initiatives for realizing a zero-emission Tokyo. For household energy consumption, a segment of energy consumption that is rising, we will create a new system to encourage people to replace refrigerators, air conditioners, and other appliances with highly energy-efficient models. In addition to using the reduction in CO2 emissions achieved through this system to offset Tokyo 2020 Games carbon emissions, I hope this initiative will boost consumption when Japan’s sales tax increase goes into effect.

To popularize the use of next-generation cars that do not emit CO2 when running, subsidies provided to SMEs to purchase electric and hybrid vehicles will be expanded to include individuals and large companies. We will further promote the installation of recharging facilities, as well as examine the use of major events such as Formula E racing, which is said to be the F1 of electric cars, to educate the public. We will implement a variety of measures to achieve our goal of having zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) account for half of all new cars sold in Tokyo by fiscal 2030.

Strengthening urban power by enhancing the rail and road network

A measure crucial to boosting Tokyo’s urban power is construction of the Tokyo Outer Ring Road, which will generate wide impacts, including alleviating traffic congestion and improving disaster preparedness. Regarding the section of the Tokyo Outer Ring Road in Tokyo that will link the Kan-etsu and Tomei expressways, with the start of tunnel boring from the Kan-etsu Expressway side last month, construction of the entire line is now fully underway. The TMG is also actively supporting construction.

At the same time, with respect to enhancing the railway network which helps strengthen urban power, in the upcoming fiscal year budget we have also included costs to study construction of six railway lines and other matters. For example, with respect to the extension of the Tama Monorail to Hakonegasaki, one of the six lines under review, we hope to mature plans based on factors such as the progress of town development in the area. We plan to continue deepening discussions and coordination with relevant parties, focusing on these six lines.

In addition, since compiling a proposal last July with the central government and others to relocate the elevated section of the Metropolitan Expressway in the Nihombashi area underground, we are advancing concrete studies and have recently started procedures to incorporate this in city planning. While working to tie this into plans to develop the surrounding area, we will continue to steadily make efforts for the start of construction.

Raising the appeal of metropolitan parks

As one way to elevate Tokyo’s urban power, we are also focusing efforts on making metropolitan parks more attractive. Following the formulation of a grand design for Hibiya Park at the end of last year, we are advancing the formulation of new plans for Meiji Park and Yoyogi Park that actively incorporate the ideas of the private sector with respect to development and management. We will draw out new appeal at parks so that all Tokyo citizens can enjoy a rich, urban lifestyle.

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