On July 8, MP Yuriko Koike talked about her candidacy in the upcoming Tokyo gubernatorial election. The campaign is expected to start on July 14. As her policies, she promoted what she called “Diver-City” and “Smart City.” Diver-City is a play on the English word “diversity,” which was coined by Koike herself. It is meant to describe her focus on embracing the diversity of Tokyo residents from all backgrounds. Smart City refers to her focus on utilizing space in Tokyo more efficiently. For example, she proposes putting telecommunication and power lines underground. When asked about her relationship with Prime Minister Abe given that the LDP is not endorsing her, she replied “that’s politics.”
The youtube video is titled Yuriko Koike: “Running in the Tokyo Gubernatorial Election”.
Below is the transcript of the press conference.
Fadi Salameh from Al-Jazeera: Hello. Everyone, thank you very much for your attendence today. Today our guest is a very known person in Japanese politics. Mrs. Yuriko Koike. I would like to welcome her and just give you a brief of how we are going to go through this presentation. Mrs. Koike is going to have about 20 minutes for her speech in English, and then she will have your questions, so Mrs.Koike please. Just to mention one thing. We are going to have this press conference on live on our home page, and you can see the stream live. I am going to give you the address for that fccj.or.jp, so if you would like also the press conference. Thank you very much. Mrs. Koike, please.
Yuriko Koike: Good afternoon. Distinguished members of The Foreign Coresspondents’ Club of Japan, and thank you very much for Fadi for introducing me, shukraan jazilaan (an Arabic phrase meaning “thank you very much”)
And thank you for attending my press conference today. As a former colleague of all of you, actually I was formerly a TV news anchor last century though. I would like to welcome you all. I trust you will all report fairly and accurately about this press conference today. Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to announce again that I am running for the upcoming governor race of Tokyo. I am running for the opportunity to change Tokyo for the better to make Tokyo more attractive to its residents and visitors are alike. For the city I love I will do my best. I am here also to share with you the outline of my policy as governor of Tokyo including two principle platforms. Something I’m preparing for the campaign. First, my commitment to public service. Before I introduce my policies, let me begin my stating why I am seeking the post as governor of Tokyo. First and foremost, it is because I believe in public service. I have been a public servant, a koboku（公僕） for the past 24 years of my life. I am currently serving as a Diet member for Tokyo tenth district located around popular Ikebukuro. Also, amongst many government posts that I have held were as Minister of the Environment under Koizumi Cabinet, and as Minister of Defense under the first Abe Cabinet. Although public service is extremely hard and challenging work, and yes as a woman the obstacles were and remain severe. I have been truly honored to serve my constituency in Tokyo, and the state of Japan. Let me also stress that it has been my commitment to serve the very people of Tokyo and the people of Japan. Not any special interest or single organization, I take this duty of priority very seriously. The people of Tokyo deserve better than mere party politics. People of Tokyo need leadership with integrity, innovation, and perseverance. Secondly I am running for the governor of Tokyo because the city of Tokyo is in great need of leadership of the people, for the people. The city of Tokyo operated by approximately 160000 public officials does not need another bureaucrat as the governor of Tokyo. It needs a visionary leader. As a woman, a long time resident of Tokyo. I assess the needs of the city of Tokyo accurately, acutely, and I believe I have the experience and track record of leadership rooted in honesty and innovation and the perseverance, and the three most important qualities sought by the people of Tokyo today. Following the extremely unfortunate turn of dishonest and self-serving events that occurred under the previous two governors, it is time for the next leader to be chosen not for his or her affiliations, but because of the candidate integrity, ability to solve issues through innovative policy and, ability to perseverance against the great odds.
I would like to remind you all that “Cool Biz.” You can have a look of this. The “ Cool Biz” is a household phrase and practiced in Japan today. This was the concept that I introduced into Japanese society during my tennure as the Minister of Environment. People were timid with this idea at first, but the innovative thinking change to the suit and tie culture of Japanese businessmen dominated by men. Today, it is perfectly acceptable for men to dress more comfortably, and fashionablly, especially during the humid Tokyo summers. Many of you are practicing the campaign, and I hope you like it. It took innovative women to make Japanese men cool. Three, Tokyo is in need of a vision for the future beyond Tokyo 2020. The third reason I am running is because I believe Tokyo is at the crossroad. It has been a great world city since the Edo period. It has seen tremendous growth recovering from the ashes of destruction following World War II.
Through the first Tokyo Olympics in 1964, it is time now for Tokyo to set its vision for a great future for Tokyo 2020 and beyond. It has many policy issues to resolve such as severely aging society, lack of proper support infrastructure for working women and inadequate financial sustainability for its social welfare system. Tokyo has made a promise to deliver a great Olympics, empire Olympics, the second for Tokyo again in 2020. But that is not the goal. Tokyo 2020 must yield a legacy for Tokyo and for Japan, we can utilize the Olympics as a foundation for beyond Tokyo 2020 that the people of Tokyo can set their hopes and dreams on.
At this point, let me now outline my vision and strategy for the policies that I want to achieve as the governor of Tokyo. This paramount stance that the city of Tokyo must be managed by the people for the people will be at the foundation for governorship. Tokyo governors by the people, for the people. This is a key word. I propose two policy platforms for the city of Tokyo. These are “Diver-City” and “Smart City.” A little hyphen is needed in between r and capital c.
Let me start by explaining “Diver-City.” This is not for a diver to diving. Of course, you can notice that this is a sort of Japanese type of game to change. It should be a “C,” sorry, an “S.” I have created this word linking diverse and city, because Tokyo must celebrate and utilize its diversity and evolve into a diver-city where women, men, senior citizens, youth, persons with disabilities, and people of all backgrounds, and walks of a life alike can thrive and reside in harmony. We must utilize all our people asset for the cities of Tokyo to truly build a great future. Through “Diver-City,” we shall evolve together and prosper together and the better connected to our neighbors and the world alike. This would be the essence of sustainability for the future Tokyo community and indeed Japan.
To next is a “Smart City.” Again, I have created this word, linking smart and city, Tokyo must aim to be smart in terms of our environment and smart in terms of our economy. Technological advancement will play a paramount role in both regards. Tokyo must utilize the state of art technology in urban planning, energy policy, and economic reform, and Tokyo will aim for both environmental sustainability and economic sustainability. Leveraging the latest technology we need to back this up with the real policy and real budget. Implementation and support for eco-housing, small housing, and utlilization of renewable energy will be important policy considerations environmentally. I have also been a strong advocate for the undergrounding of the overhead cables such as telecommunication and power lines.This is not only meaningful for the resilience for the city, but is also important to regain aesthetics. For me, this is an important part of helping to make Tokyo look smart. Economically, Tokyo needs to regain its position as the first financial capital of Asia through technological advancement. Smart City also means a financial vibrant city. When I was a newscaster in the early 90’s of the last century, global finance was centered in New York, London and Tokyo. We need to regain this position to revitalize Tokyo and Japan’s economy. I think Tokyo we built the engine of the Abenomics, set up the economic policy called Abenomics, and I am sure without Tokyo and without vitalization of Tokyo, Abenomics will not be successful.
Now, let me introduce some roadmaps, my strategy for achieving for “Diver- City” and “Smart City.” My basic strategies are first, a truly diverse city, Tokyo must reform its working environment. This would mean among other things, setting employment ratio targets for women and people with disability. We keep talking about this, but little has been truly achieved. We must also make serious effort to reduce the number of children on waiting lists for Tokyo nursery schools by taking innovative new approaches. Without support for working women and mothers, there will be no economic growth for Tokyo and this and other similar efforts will contribute towards diminishing the aging society issues as well. I’m also prepared to make a drastic reforms to solicit both global funding and global talent to revitalize the Tokyo financial market so that we can regain our standing as the financial capital of Asia and the world. Two, we must aim to evolve Tokyo as an environmentally advanced city. A model for the world, some policies in need of implementation to achieve this such as upgrading gas stations into energy stations including for electricity, fuels of cars, and bio-fuel cars and alike. Accelerating the application of clean energy and implementation of the congestion charge on tax like London has already applied, and similar to the… this is so… we can see the example in London. In order to assure the safety and security of Tokyo residents and support for the successful Olympics and Paralympics we are built a state of art disaster and terrorism prevention systems. This will be another legacy of Tokyo 2020. The above three policies areas will be advanced towards Tokyo 2020 as a mile stone. Meanwhile the already established long term vision for Tokyo will be duly promoted and revised or adjusted as necessary. We will reduce the wages for Tokyo governor and members of the Tokyo City Council to support Tokyo fiscal budget reduction.
I would like to introduce some key policy outlines in detail again Diver-City, first aim for 2030 ratio for women management and provide subsities as needed or just praise the company who achieve the goal. We were announced and award corporation that achieve this goal. Second, we will actively increase the number of nursery school, and aim for zero- waiting list by vitaliziing nursery mothers and nannys and to achieve improved the work like balance to promote time difference commuting implementation of two story trains for reduced train car congestion, remote working, and no overtime day or no overwork anymore. These policies were seek corporate cooperation and Tokyo city will also implement support for nursing care for the aged for working families. Four, Tokyo will be revitalize as the first financial capital of Asia by implementation of policies that support the solicitation of global financial talent as well as innovative financial institutions into Tokyo.
We will establish a special global financial district or actually it has been already set, but it hasn’t been used well, because the previous governor was so busy in enjoying spring and hot spring. And the law that allow for tax benefits to corporations fulling various requirements by operating them. We will support these business with increased English language services as well as the introduction of other business firendly reforms. We will provide free high school education, and I have already said that enhancing language skills at the high school or even the junior high school is very much needed and badly needed in Japan. So, to enhance students’ English skill is really important to vitalize the city of Tokyo or capital of Tokyo. Well, I have explained too much in detail, but I think you have already known my conceptual. I mean before Olympics and Paralympics 2020 and beyond. This is my time frame. This is the matter of quality of the my policy, and these policies are subjected to be scrutinize, but I hope you will already feel some of my innovative policies. And city of Tokyo is in need of great deal of leadership of the people, by the people, sorry, once again …..city of Tokyo….because this is the most important phrase, and I made a mistake.
The city of Tokyo is in great need of leadership of the people, for the people by Yuriko Koike. Thank you very much for your attention. Thank you.
Salameh: Ms. Koike, thank you very much for your speech. I think you mentioned very interesting key words. “Smart City,” “Diver-City,” very interesting. And now, I would like to open the floor for questions, but I just have to to remind you one thing. If you could keep your questions short and specific and as short as you can so that we can have as many questions. Let me start by here, Joel here please?
Joel Legendre: Koike-san, thank you very much for coming to the press club. We are honored to have you today.
Salameh: Could you introduce yourself?
Legendre: Joel Legendre from French radio and television RTL. You are not endorsed by the LDP, your political family. It must be hard for you. So does it mean they lack of integrity, innovation and perseverance and leadership? Not under such a talented politician as you.
Koike: From here on, I would like to speak in Japanese. So, here’s my answer. Yes. I’m an LDP legslator, so I continue to hope that I will receive endorsement from the party for my candidacy. Usually, in Tokyo it is conceived that the one who raises their hand later gets the advantage. But, I also think it’s true to this initiative that rather than having someone nominate you, and then saying well then I will take it stand up for candidacy showing your own will,and showing your own passion to the Tokyo residents and voters and have them choose, or have them vote is very natural course of things to happen. So, I also think that I am not so good at the traditional technique known in Japan which is called nemawashi (根回し), consultation beforehand. It seems to have not been doing this enough. Beyond this, I hope you understand that my passion is way more stronger. And I have full confidence in having raising my hand, because one of the major pillars of the Abenomics from the LDP is to utilize women fully.
Journalist: Hello. After listening to your ambitious and very interesting plan, can you talk a little bit about politics?You know in Europe, and many countries closed the world, mayor become all president or Prime Minister. If you will be the first woman nominated as a mayor, what’s your late ambitions your vision for the future? To be Prime Minister or what? Thank you?
Koike: I will answer your question after I’m elected as the govorner of Tokyo. It’s too too early to tell. Thank you for your question.
Haruko Watanabe. HKW. I would rather speak in Japanese for the benefit of Japanese Press. So, it is wonderful that someone like you, Ms. Koike has appeared in this messy scene like a lightening or a starlight because Japanese politics is very popular for mixing things up and putting things on the back burner. You are not at all like that. You also have charm, you have courage and now we must talk about you are having power as well. To you, I would like to ask a question about the gender, woman actually, and the volume and the quality of this. What I mean by volume and quality is when we look at some stats among 145 countries in the world, we are ranked at 104 when it comes to gender index although we talk so much about being an economic power house. We are this low. When we look at the city of Tokyo, the population is roughly 14 million and men 6.7 million, woman 6.9 million and the public workers who serve Tokyo is 166819 according to the January 1st stats. Now as the top of Tokyo city as a governor, would you like to, what kind of ideas do you have to nurture mid rank and lower rank woman female leaders, because if you become the top obviously you are already very established and you would be a very encouraging figure, but how about the middle ranks, the lower ranks. We do need to nurture these female decision makers, don’t we?What kind of specific ideas do you have? Would you like to set up a new quota system or you need to work on the current merit system? Are there ideas? I would appreciate. Thank you.
Koike: Long time no see. Thank you so much for your wonderful words. So, the reason why I want to change Tokyo with the occasion of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics coming up and the reason why I resolved to run is because I want to do all the things that haven’t been able to really achieve. There are existing plans. If they are not working well enough, I would like to push them forward. If there are necessary plans, I would like to establish them. Japan is a country known for not taking risks, which is the biggest risk that the country has. And it seems to me that Japan does not think so much about this risk that we are having. The way we continue to do things the way we have been doing is the safest thing, and this creates the risk. This risk seems to be materializing some of the corporate activities already. I personally shoulder no risk actually. I have been a legislator for 24 years and I’m committed to utilising my experience in this candidacy for Tokyo, and if I win and become a governor of Tokyo I will be resigning from being a lawmaker, but I think there is a value in making this challenge.
And Tokyo Metropolitan Government too also says that we should be utilizing women. We should be utilizing their power, women should bring themselves forth in the society, but the reality is quite embarrassing, and it’s very far from that brilliant women utilization that we talked about.
As you said when we look at the number of people working in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, there is more than 160, and I will first of all, if I assume the post of the governor, would like to check who are the people working in what kind of posts. I must of course confirm the current situation, but then I understand to your point that it is important to set a goal.
My idea, right now is by the timing of 2020, I would like to see 30% of the work force or organization being run by women, and I hope that that many women assume posts and become active in whatever field it maybe. This idea of utilizing women actually was a national decision already when Koizumi was in the administration. It was a cabinet decision made in 2005, and it was a decision made, and the idea was just left there. So, I was the one who actually pulled it out, and activated it. And that is why currently in the Abe administration, he and the team are working on activating this idea of utilizing women little by little, and slowly. So, when I become governor, I would like to push this initiative, and accerlerate it most strongly actually in any organization and of course in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. As for the further specific goals, or timing, I wouldl like to determine after observing the situations.
Journalist: You left the Prime Minister Abe’s first government after only 54 days for reasons that has nothing to do with you. There was no big reason to step down at that time. In Prime Minister second, Abe’s, the second government, there are a lot of words about empowering women and asking women to take over jobs. He never asked you or he never nominated you for a minister job. By the way some other strong LDP women are you doing something that Prime Minister Abe already doesn’t, isn’t happy about by running. What does Prime Minister Abe have against you or what’s your relationship to him? Thanks.
Koike: One correction. You said that my post lasted for 54 days, but 55 days. Actually, what happened in the first Cabinet was I picked a fight with a Administrative Vice Minister, and the legislator told me that you do not understand our feelings to pick a fight with such an important figure. And the conclusion of the story is that that Vice Administrative Minister, I picked a fight with was arrested in the end. These are some of the some of the truths of the matter that citizens of Japan will not ever understand or will not get a hold of the real information. That is why in one of the pledges that I have raised. I would like to combat this kind of politics. What is the situation with Abe? “That’s the politics.”
Thomas Davidson, Danish newspaper specializing in finance. I was very interested to hear your idea to revitalize Tokyo as a financial center. My question pertains to the tech sector, because Japan has only one so called unicorn which is a tech start-up that’s worth over a billion dollars, Uber, Facebook, all these guys. They are sort of one of the biggest unicorns you have many others. Japan has one, South Korea and Singapore have many more despite that their economies and populations are far smaller. Europe of course many more including so far England and so forth. One of the reasons for this is that venture capital it seems in Japan. investements etc. quite difficult for young Japanese tech enterprenuers to get a hold of, and many of them including many that I know of have left for Singapore and Bangkok and so on. So, the question is will that figure into any of your financial rejuvination plans? Thank you.
Koike: Thank you very much. There is a traditional Japanese companies who are facing very worrysome situations, and that we need to take care of, but on top of that, I understand totally that there are many many new seeds for new ventures to pop up and start establishing themselves, but to be acknowledged as a proper venture company, Japan is not necessarily the best country to be in.
I would like to think more about utilizing private equities and venture capitals so that young entrepreneurs, not just young even elderly people can establish their own venture with access to these funds. I would like to make sure that there is overall a good culture and environment that nurtures such venture establishments. We do already have the talent. We do have great population in Tokyo, the environment is there. But, the unfortunate situation is that we do something like a robot contest, and Tokyo University students win, and Google buys them, so I would like to make sure that Tokyo becomes a leader for this initiative pulling these venture spirit as the leader or the capital of the country so that people from all over the Japan can enjoy blooming their venture ambitions in Tokyo, and in order to do this, we need to make sure that we conquer some of the issues related to tax systems, language, and various other environmental issues as well.
Thank you. My name is Khaldon Azhali from Pan Oriental News. Accidentally, I have my tie here, so just coincidence. My question is what is the importance of this year’s election for the international community, because there will be the Olympics and … we feel that this time, Jiminto has to provide or the Japanese voters have to find somebody who can talk to the war, and you are ….diplomatic connections, and you speak English and Arabic, so you are in a very good position about this, but do you think that the traditional way of thinking in Jiminto that is causing they might bring other candidate and cause another election later causing the Tokyo people five million yen in the cost of the election.
So, this gubenartorial election happened all of a sudden, and it is costing the city five billion yen for sure and that also… it is also unfortunate that previous governor and the governor before that also were both very short lived. We need to settle down, and I think that there is significance of having election this time so that we can run the Tokyo, the Tokyo city with a level head a calm situation where we can settle down and not having people changing all the time so that we can make sure that we push the policies forward for sure this time. So, in that sense I think there is a very good meaning having this election this time, and I would like to be the one to actually implement and see this policies bare fruit. Thank you very much for rooting for me. You are a foreigner, not Japanese. But, I wish you had a vote in Japan. I hope you do.
Japanese Correspondent From Washington: Two questions regarding the small seat and mid seat constituencies. Do you have an idea of making the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly a mid seat constituency when we think about the population balance? The second question is regarding my profession, the anti-terrorism counter measures. What do you think about the lack of linkage between the police agency and private security companies? I think there is more work to do here especially in front of the Tokyo Olympics. So, your ideas here, please?
Koike: Thank you very much for your advice for both topics. About the election system for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, I take your advice. I take a note of your advice. I would like to study the matter further. For the second point, information sharing is the key amongst the police agencies, fire department, also the defense system as well, and not just information sharing t within the country but also sharing the information with the foreign countries is also key although of course we need to take a good care with security issues as well. Thank you very much for your advice for both points.
Shoko Egawa (freelance journalist): Two questions regarding the hate speech. There is a counter measure law now passed the hate speech right now, and it is going to be applied for municipalities around Japan as well. I also would like to confirm one fact whether you have made a speech or lecture to a group related to the hate speech or the hate demo. Have they supported you in any way in delivering the speech? The second part of the question would be how would you like to take leadership in working on this hate speech and hate demo situations when you become a governor.
Koike: Regarding the lectures that I deliver and I do this very often on my daily basis. I do not know if there is any affiliations with this group, Zaitoku Kai （在特会）you mentioned. I do not know them. Although I am often invited to various lectures, I do not know if any of the inviters are affiliated with Zaitoku Kai either, so therefore, I have no knowlege of any affiliation with this group. At the second point is the law that just has been passed, I am sure that there are things need to be guarded in conjunction with the law that just has been passed, and the municipalities, the local regions of Japan as well. Things that need to be kept or guarded and of course, I’m saying that there is a lot of controversy in human rights or freedom of speech etc.
Isabel Reynolds from Bloomberg News. Thank you for your speech. My question is about I would like to ask about the two recent governors. Mr. Ishihara and Mr. Masuzoe. have been involved in issues far beyond what you might regard as the remit Tokyo governor in terms of international politics especially within Asia. I was wondering what you thought about their involvement in those issues and how you see your own role in international diplomacy.
Koike: Becoming a governor of Tokyo that would mean that I would have to oversee many islands because Tokyo has many islands. They are Tokyo sovereignty. We need to acknowledge that although this is a national issue. Tokyo should be also responsible and accountable for working on measures to protect these places as Tokyo prefecture. Speaking of the previous governors, I am sure that they have their own ideas and thoughts in pursuing their policies. When it comes to Mr.Ishihara, he was very active in this front. I don’t know about the results of course e need to take more time to review the results of actions that he has taken, but I am sure that all of these governors have their own character and they pursue these initiatives in their own way. As for me, I have been the Defense Minister past, and in this position I have worked very hard to promote exchanges with many nations. When I become a governor, I think the first thing I should do, and actually this will be something that is full on my plate in the beginning. That is to have national level exchanges for 2020 Olympics and Paralympics inviting people to host the games and I think that would give me a lot of work to take care of initially in terms of international exchange. Tokyo must be a place where many tourists can come. The environment should be right so that we can welcome them. I would like to make sure I exert my full power to make this wonderful host city, and in terms of the national security issues, I would not pursue things in the way that Mr. Ishihara did. Although I still would like to protect the coral reefs in Ogasawara.