The prospect of the Tokyo governor’s election has quickly become chaotic due to the sudden entry of former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa supported by another former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
There are several policy issues.
First, there is an issue of the nuclear power generation as raised by the Hosokawa-Koizumi duo. Conventionally, I would say that the issue of energy policy is not a theme to be attributed to the responsibility of the Tokyo governor alone so it should not be the focal point in the Tokyo gubernatorial election. This time, however, it seems the nuclear power issue has already become inevitable at this moment.
Nevertheless, as long as the nuclear issue becomes the point of dispute in the election, the candidates should go beyond “one phrase”
・Make clear what will be implemented in relation to the nuclear power
plants as Tokyo governor
・And engage in meaningful discussions with specific plans
For example, if Tokyo alone chooses not to use the electricity generated by the nuclear power plants while the country’s entire preparation for alternative energy sources is not fully launched, it will possibly cause Tokyo to lose competitive attractiveness as international center as it may skyrocket the energy cost excessively in Tokyo alone. The nuclear issue requires discussions with reasonable scenarios and rational measures.
Second is the urban design of Tokyo in eye of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. It goes without saying that a successful hosting of the Olympic Games itself is important, but the biggest challenge to the new governor of Tokyo is how to internationalize and upgrade Tokyo as the world’s most advanced global city. The plans and capabilities toward this goal should have been the biggest point of dispute to be competed among candidates in the Tokyo governor’s election, rather than the nuclear issue.
The future vision of Tokyo, as well as total plans as means to realize the vision, including utilization of the National Strategic Special Zone, enhancement of transportation infrastructures like airports (including efficient improvement through PFI) must be presented.
The third issue is improvement and rationalization of administrative management, or eradication of dark parts in other words, of the Tokyo metropolitan government.
The issue of vested interests and amakudari of the Tokyo metropolitan government has often been pointed out as equally serious or even worse than in the central government, but there have been few attempts to make corrections on the issue.
Breakthroughs toward such structural issues must be carried out all at once when the new governor is inaugurated, otherwise the structure will be maintained for another several years if the new governor misses the timing.
Candidates should present concrete plans to have discussions on how and to what extent they can break into these issues (the current state of vested interests and amakudari issues of the Tokyo metropolitan government will be described some other time).