This is the first regular session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly since the start of the Reiwa era. I am now renewing my determination to work together with the members of this Assembly and the people of Tokyo to create a Tokyo full of hope where everyone can shine.
The first year of Reiwa is not only the first year of a new era in which we will speed up creation of the “new Tokyo”; it is also the year in which we advance final preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Games to ensure that it serves as a springboard to the future. It goes without saying that this year will be a historic one for Tokyo.
In this Reiwa era, the graying and shrinking of Japan’s population will proceed simultaneously. In 2050, it is estimated that around one in six people will be elderly worldwide, making the aging population a global challenge. Amid such circumstances, how can Japan, in which the 65 and older population already accounts for almost 28 percent of the population, plot a path to growth with this proportion continuing to rise? Japan, which should lead the world in demonstrating a new growth model, needs to undergo a paradigm shift in order to resolve issues that cannot be taken on by the conventional approaches we have taken to date. And, so that Tokyo can stand at the forefront of this shift, we must work to further evolve as a mature city that continues to generate growth in an environment where anyone and everyone can live with peace of mind and play an active role in society.
The pillars to support achievement of that goal are the three key focuses of this fiscal year’s budget, which is the largest we have ever compiled: bolstering Tokyo’s urban power, making Tokyo truly productive, and connecting people. We will strengthen Tokyo’s ability to respond to disasters and climate change, enhance its ability to be truly productive, and fully draw out the strengths of the people, who are the driving force behind Tokyo’s growth. Our mission as Japan’s capital is none other than to use these initiatives to raise Tokyo’s degree of maturity as a city and strongly drive Japan’s economy even as the population declines. To fulfill this mission, we have strengthened systems for implementing policies, including establishing the Office for Strategic Policy and ICT Promotion and Office for Housing Policy. Concerning TMG-wide policy challenges, including nationwide collaboration for a mutually beneficial and prosperous relationship, preparation of an environment that nurtures peace of mind for the elderly and participation in society by women, and the use of the special zones system and advanced technologies, we are establishing systems for close cross-bureau cooperation for swift implementation of innovative policies. While continuing to raise the productivity of the TMG organization in the Reiwa era as well, we will strongly strive to achieve the Grand Reform of Tokyo, which continues to boldly take on challenge after challenge with new approaches.
To accurately respond to a period of great change, we commenced studies in April to formulate the tentatively named “New Long-Term Plan” as the long-term compass for Tokyo with an eye to the years beyond 2020. We have started TMG-wide discussions on the future vision for Tokyo in 2030, keeping in mind the situation projected for Tokyo in the 2040s. We will further evolve the three cities concept (Safe City, Diversity (Diverse City), Smart City) and create a new vision for the city that strikes a balance between sustainable “growth,” which is supported by the power of the people, and “maturity,” built on the legacy of the Games, which enables everyone to live full lives with peace of mind. To that end, we will advance study of the plan by taking a bird’s-eye view, while considering the opinions of Tokyo citizens and the deliberations of this Assembly, as well as global standards the world is striving to achieve, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). First, we aim to sort out the points for discussion by August.
Based on results achieved to date, we will further accelerate the Reform Plan for 2020 that we have been advancing to change how business is conducted at the TMG, as well as the structure of the organization. Along with this month’s establishment of a sub-committee of experts to improve the effectiveness of self-evaluations conducted by each bureau, we aim to brush up the “policy evaluation” system that we launched this fiscal year as a mechanism for TMG bureaus to constantly review their programs. Additionally, concerning TMG Policy Collaboration Organizations, whose position to implement policies in tandem with the TMG was more clearly defined, last month, we released revised editions of our strategy for utilizing these organizations, as well as the management reform plans drawn up by each organization. I will be meeting with the heads of these organizations to exchange views, and will channel this into further strengthening their management strategy and ability to advance policy. Amid these turbulent times worldwide, and with technological innovations advancing rapidly, for Tokyo to achieve the growth and maturity it seeks, we must steadily improve the overall functions of the TMG Group, including organizations that work alongside the TMG to implement policies.