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2014年2月 1日 (土)

都知事選討論会 公約の実現性を競うべきだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 31, 2014
Tokyo gubernatorial candidates must focus on policy feasibility
都知事選討論会 公約の実現性を競うべきだ(1月31日付・読売社説)

Progress has been made, at least to some degree, on letting voters know how thoroughly candidates in the ongoing Tokyo gubernatorial election campaign have considered the measures that must be taken to realize their respective pledges.

Four major candidates in the Tokyo contest appeared on an NTV news program Thursday: former Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe; former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa; former Japan Federation of Bar Associations President Kenji Utsunomiya; and former Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami.

It was the first time that the major candidates in the Tokyo race had held a face-to-face debate since the campaign officially kicked off Jan. 23.

The delay in holding a discussion with all the major candidates sitting side by side was due mainly to Hosokawa’s refusal to do so in the days before the poll’s official announcement. Exchanges of views among the candidates on the future of the metropolis are considered extremely useful in providing voters with information on which they can base their decisions.

Regarding the issue of nuclear power plants, Masuzoe said in the TV debate that “all related matters, including both power consumption and supply areas, should be up to central government policy,” while noting that Tokyo should boost the percentage of renewable energy sources it uses.

Tamogami said, “It is definitely possible to secure a power supply by ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants.”

Both the views of Masuzoe and Tamogami can be deemed realistic.

Hosokawa and Utsunomiya, both of whom have advocated an immediate break from nuclear power generation, declared emphatically that they, if victorious in the Tokyo poll, would have the metropolitan government exercise its influence to the fullest extent as a shareholder in Tokyo Electric Power Co. to make the elimination of nuclear power generation a reality.

The stake the Tokyo metropolitan government has in TEPCO, however, is no more than 1.2 percent of the utility’s outstanding shares. Given this, the argument that Tokyo could wield a decisive influence over the abolition or continuation of the use of nuclear energy is highly questionable.

In-depth debate lacking

Hosokawa has made the issue of nuclear power generation the most significant contention of his campaign, on the grounds that “apart from the nuclear power question, other issues facing Tokyo will be dealt with in much the same way regardless of who is elected to the governorship.”

Securing energy sources to replace nuclear power is of central importance to the elimination of nuclear power dependence. However, Hosokawa in the debate cited the case of Tokyo Metropolitan University, established in 2005 through the merger of four Tokyo metropolitan government-run schools, saying the task of hammering out measures to solve the problem “must be undertaken by such an institution,” leaving the hard task entirely up to the university.

Such a way of thinking is extremely irresponsible.

On Tokyo’s hosting of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, Masuzoe stressed his resolve to make them among “the greatest events in history,” pledging to upgrade Tokyo’s transportation infrastructure and enhance public safety. Hosokawa and Utsunomiya, for their part, argued that portions of the current projects for the Games, if considered excessive, should be reconsidered.

It is presumably impossible, however, to make drastic changes to key elements of the plans that Tokyo has shown the International Olympic Committee in the bid to become the host, including the capacity of the new National Stadium. What the new Tokyo governor must do is make efforts to reduce wasteful budgetary spending, if any, while proceeding based on those plans.

In the televised debate, the idea was floated of making better use of vacant lots owned by the metropolitan government as a step toward solving the problem of waiting lists for children to enter day care centers.

None of the candidates, however, came up with any in-depth proposals in connection with such key problems as what measures should be taken in response to Tokyo’s rapidly graying population and the need for making preparations for a massive earthquake with its focus just beneath the Tokyo metropolitan area. We urge the candidates to clarify their views about specific steps to cope with these challenges.

Discussions among the candidates must be deepened further toward the polling day, Feb. 9.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 31, 2014)
(2014年1月31日01時18分  読売新聞)


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