Lunch with Yuriko Koike (Recap)
Asia Society Policy Salon Tokyo
On July 25, 2022, Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike joined Asia Society Japan to talk about an inclusive and sustainable future for the city. She assesses Tokyo’s successes and challenges during the past two years and shared her vision for the future.
Governor Koike began her initial comments by referring to the success of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Games, which were held successfully amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and to her hopes that they would serve as a beacon of hope. She also referred to how high levels of public awareness and cooperation in Japan have kept the COVID-19 infection and mortality rates lowest of all OECD member countries. Tokyo aims for a sustainable recovery from the pandemic that will lead to a better and inclusive future where both environmental and economic goals are met.
Tokyo’s measures for realizing an inclusive society include a quota system for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) Council and a pledge of support for LGBTQ partnership. Tokyo also seeks to develop global mindsets among the youth and foster global leaders.
Under the Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy, Tokyo aims to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality in 2050. In its efforts to meet 50% of its energy demand with renewable energy, it is revising its ordinance to make it mandatory for housing suppliers to install solar panels. Tokyo has also launched the HTT initiative, which aims to save (Herasu), generate (Tsukuru), and store (Tameru) electricity. Governor Koike hopes to bring the energy-saving mindset into the household.
Financial incentives are also essential in the transition to a decarbonized society. One of Governor Koike’s first accomplishments as governor was issuing the TMG green bond in 2017. Given the climate crisis, energy crisis, and COVID-19 pandemic, we now stand at a major turning point in our time. Our actions now will determine our future. Tokyo will not only overcome these challenges but evolve into an even more resilient and prosperous city for everyone.
Following her initial remarks, Governor Koike was joined by Mr. Jesper Koll in a fireside chat. They discussed the different roles and powers of a Governor and the Prime Minister. Governor Koike pointed out that vision, determination, and decisiveness are key to leadership. Governor Koike also stressed that with the yen depreciation, it is an opportune time to revisit Japan’s primary industry, including rice production and forestry. She highlighted that revitalizing agriculture and forestry will also lead to a healthier natural environment and water resources, as well as food security. Other topics covered included women empowerment, internationalizing education and medical services, and motivating younger generations.