Tokyo can only shine when the people who bring vigor to the city do. With this conviction, ever since assuming the governorship, I have been consistently rolling out measures that focus on people. My stance on this will not change in the future. I have made “Tokyo where people shine” the second pillar of the new Grand Reform of Tokyo. Through implementation of detailed measures, we will build a vibrant city where every resident can fully realize his or her potentials and lead active and dynamic lives.
The issue of children on the waiting lists for daycare, which we have been addressing as one of our top priorities to achieve this vision, has been making steady progress. The number of waitlisted children in Tokyo as of April 1 this year has dropped to 2,343, the first time for this figure to be in the 2,000 range in the past three decades. Last year, 259 licensed daycare facilities were established with a total capacity of about 18,000 children. The number of Tokyo municipalities that have achieved zero waitlisted children is rising. We will continue to implement further countermeasures in cooperation with the municipalities, such as expanding the acceptance of one-year-olds who comprise roughly 60 percent of the waitlisted children, to realize a Tokyo where both men and women can shine at both parenting and work.
In the age of increasing uncertainties, children must learn to carve their own paths to the future. We need to enhance education that teaches them to become independent, nurtures self-direction and develops their problem-solving skills. It is against this background that a study on the new Tokyo Education Model has been launched. We will deepen discussion on the new education model at the Educational Affairs Council Meeting together with the Board of Education, with the aim to create a supportive community environment for children from the viewpoint of leaving no child behind, and realize high-quality education focused on each individual child. The outcome of the discussion will be reflected in our next Education Policy to be formulated by the end of this fiscal year.
Japan’s international competitiveness is on the decline. The gap between our country and the rest of the world will only widen unless we succeed in cultivating a large number of global-minded individuals with high-level language skills and rich international perspectives. In 2022 the first public school in Japan seamlessly combining primary and secondary education will open in Tachikawa. The school will offer at least 1,000 hours more foreign language classes than normally given during the compulsory education period to help students acquire advanced language skills. We will maximize the merits of integrated 12-year education, including the implementation of a program in which all students enrolled in the school engage in research and volunteer activities overseas, in order to foster talent who will be active on the global stage and help support Tokyo as the world’s city of choice.
We are advancing studies on opening the first branch classroom of a high school for special needs education on Tokyo’s Islands in Hachijo-machi to boost motivation for learning in all children regardless of disabilities. The number of students enrolled in elementary and lower secondary school special needs classes in Hachijo-machi is on an upward trend. Against this backdrop, we will steadily advance the opening of the branch classroom, and ensure that it leads to enhancing learning for each and every child.
Centering on such initiatives for welfare and education, we will advance policies that put children first, while providing thorough support for child-rearing. In order to ensure that this leads to the creation of a “society where children are smiling and parents are enjoying raising children,” we will launch an advisory board for the future of children made up of experts next week. What should be done to create a society where cherishing children who will forge the future takes top priority, and children and parenting get support in all kinds of situations? We will have the board members discuss this question from broad points of view unconstrained by existing frameworks. We will ensure that we realize communities overflowing with hope for the future where children’s smiles are blooming everywhere.
Social firms offer a place for those disadvantaged in the job market to work and play an active part in society. Starting early next month, we will call for business operators who seek certification as social firms under the criteria of the recently formulated guidelines. We will widely inform businesses of the support they can receive if they are certified as social firms, and steadily work for the establishment of TMG-certified social firms within this fiscal year.
Connections between people are what enhance urban vitality. Based on such a conviction, we placed “community” as one of the cores of the strategic vision for Tokyo’s future. Next month, the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation “TSUNAGARI,” a new TMG policy collaboration organization, will be established. We will sequentially implement projects aimed at revitalization of local communities such as creating a multicultural and inclusive society where foreign residents can live with peace of mind and establishing a society where people are connected and help each other.
To build local communities that are lively and active, we must also develop good dwelling environments. Amid huge changes in the housing situation, our housing policies will be strategically upgraded, and at the end of the next fiscal year, a new Master Plan for Housing will be drawn up based on the report by the Council on Housing Policy. We will roll out housing policies that befit our vision of Tokyo as the city where people shine.
Moreover, in order to ensure safe and secure living in the community, it is also important to enhance local healthcare services. The facilities of the Tama-Hokubu Medical Center, which plays a major role here, are aging. We will begin studies on its reconstruction so that it can continue to provide stable medical care that befits the changing environment surrounding local health care.