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2012年12月 1日 (土)

都知事選告示 東京の将来像示す政策論議を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 1, 2012)
Tokyo candidates must present vision of ideal future for capital
都知事選告示 東京の将来像示す政策論議を(11月30日付・読売社説)

The official start of the Tokyo gubernatorial campaign Thursday began the process of choosing either a continuation of the policies Shintaro Ishihara pursued during his slightly more than three terms in office, or a significant shift away from the political atmosphere of the past 13-1/2 years.

Voting and vote counting will be held Dec. 16, the same day as the national House of Representatives election. Due to the rare double election, voter turnout rate is expected to be higher than is usually seen in single elections.

The focus now turns to how voters who have no specific party affiliation will vote. We hope voters will carefully examine each candidate's platform when deciding how to cast their valuable ballots for the sake of Tokyo's future.

Nine people are contesting the race. Among the four major candidates, former Tokyo Vice Gov. Naoki Inose has been anointed by Ishihara as his chosen successor. Inose also has the backing of the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).

Kenji Utsunomiya, the former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, is supported by Nippon Mirai no To (Japan future party), the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party of Japan. Former Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa and former LDP General Council Chairman Takashi Sasagawa are running campaigns without the support of any political parties.


What to do with Shinginko Tokyo?

The national ruling Democratic Party of Japan, despite holding the largest bloc in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, could not field a candidate and has told party members vote as they see fit.

Inose is arguing that Ishihara's policies should be continued, while the other major candidates are calling for fresh ideas. The greatest divide is over what to do about Shinginko Tokyo, which is seen by many as a negative legacy of the Ishihara era.

Ishihara pushed to establish the metropolitan-backed bank to help small and midsize companies raise capital. However, the bank has fallen into trouble due to poorly planned loans and overall weak performance. The metropolitan government has already sunk 140 billion yen in tax revenue into the venture.

Inose says the bank just needs reconstruction, while the three other main candidates have pledged to sell or liquidate it. We believe the burden on metropolitan residents should not be increased any further, and hope the four main candidates will present more concrete plans that can be implemented quickly.

Regarding the crucial issue of nuclear power, Utsunomiya and Sasagawa argue that Japan should move away from its dependence on atomic energy.

As Tokyo consumes a huge amount of electricity, an unstable electricity supply would paralyze urban functions. Since the governor is responsible for protecting Tokyo residents' lifestyles, we see it as irresponsible for a candidate to support a policy that does not include nuclear power when there is no prospect of securing sufficient alternative energy sources to replace nuclear power.


Keep the flame alive

Tokyo is currently seeking to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Three of the candidates have pledged to continue the bid, while Utsunomiya has taken a cautious stance, saying, "I want to decide after listening to the opinions of the people of Tokyo."

Hosting the Olympics would serve as a catalyst to energize the entire country, so we hope the new governor will lead the campaign to bring the games to Tokyo.

It is also important for the new governor to speed up preparations for a major earthquake that could directly strike the metropolitan area. Tokyo needs to further improve its plans for assisting people stranded far from home by a major disaster.

And finally, as can be seen in the growing problem of elderly people living alone, effective measures to cope with the graying population are an urgent need.

We hope the gubernatorial candidates will engage in lively discussions over the various issues facing Tokyo.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 30, 2012)
(2012年11月30日01時28分  読売新聞)


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