"Future Tokyo: Tokyo's Long-Term Strategy" and the Tokyo Bay eSG Project | TMC Talks Vol.3

This article is a transcription of a speech given by Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko, at TMC Talks held by the Tokyo Media Center (TMC) on July 28, 2021. Watch the full movie here.
Tokyo Bay eSG Project|TMC Talks Vol.3

Hello everyone. I'm Koike Yuriko, Governor of Tokyo. With the Tokyo 2020 Games in full swing and seeing the wonderful performances of all the athletes competing, I feel a new excitement with every passing day. The Olympics and Paralympics leave their host cities with wonderful legacies. Today, on the great competition stage that is Tokyo, I would like to talk about what sort of city we are becoming and what shape the future of Tokyo will be. We are currently facing the major crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate change. However, now that we are in a time of crisis, I think that it is important to envision the future image of our city after overcoming these crisis and take strategic steps towards realizing this vision. In March of this year, the Metropolitan Government formulated the Future Tokyo: Tokyo's Long-Term Strategy, a collection of plans for 2030. The core of this strategy is the concept of "sustainable recovery". When the pandemic ends and we can start to recover, we will not just return to the status quo. Rather, we will create a sustainable recovery and achieve a better future together.

The symbolic project which will lead the "Future Tokyo" strategy is the "Tokyo Bay eSG Project" which I will introduce today. In Japanese we have the phrase "onkochishin", which means "revisiting the old to learn a new." In our past history, there are actually hints dealing with new challenges. So now I would like to look back on the history of Tokyo and introduce to you two famous people.

Shibusawa Eiichi, a famous industrialist who will be the face of new Japanese 10,000-yen bills from 2024 onward. Mr. Shibusawa is said to be the "father of Japanese capitalism" and at the same time he was the driving force behind many activities that contributed to society. One could say that he is a pioneer of the ideals behind the United Nation's SDGs that aim to create a "society where no one is left behind".

The other individual is Goto Shinpei, the 7th mayor of Tokyo. During his tenure, about 100 years ago, Tokyo was hit by an unprecedented natural disaster, the Great Kanto Earthquake. Mayor Goto made a grand reconstruction plan, which at the time was called an "oburoshiki" - meaning a bold idea, but with little feasibility. Nevertheless, through perseverance and careful planning he built the framework of the current urban infrastructure of Tokyo.

What these two individuals both have in common is that, looking 50 or even 100 years ahead, their actions have left a "sustainable" Tokyo.

Carrying on the spirit of our predecessors, we have added new meaning to the original concept of "ESG". As you can see from this slide, the lower-case "e" brings about the sense of words like "ecology", "economy" and "epoch-making". The upper-case "S" is the first letter in Mr. Shibusawa's last name while the "G" represents Mayor Goto. Put together they make "eSG".

Now, I would like to talk about the specifics of this project. The stage for the "Tokyo Bay eSG Project", as the title would suggest, is the Tokyo Bay Area.

This location is blessed with waterside nature and has two areas with great potential. The first is Tokyo Waterfront City, which already has many existing commercial and entertainment facilities that make it very appealing. Tokyo Waterfront City also has many facilities related to the Tokyo 2020 Games, so it will be an area where the legacy of the Games will remain strong. The second is a vast parcel of newly reclaimed land, which will have approximately 1,000 hectares of space in the near future.

The aim of this project is to utilize this potential to create a sustainable city that combines both "nature" and "convenience" and can serve as a model for the world's other large megacities.

Now, let's see what a sustainable city of the future will look like.            

What did you think? I think that it may be even better than the near future cities of science fiction movies. It is my hope that everyone will find such a city easier to live in, enjoying comfortable daily lives while still finding city services efficient. There are three core philosophies that make up the image of this sustainable future city. First, is a city that creates human-centered space. One surrounded by abundant greenery, where you can feel the water close by and which is rich in biodiversity. Second is a city that continuously generates new value through gathering the world's best human resources and knowledge. And thirdly, it is a strong city that overcomes the threat of infectious disease and is resilient to natural disasters.

We have four strategies to realize this plan.

The first strategy is the realization of net zero emissions and the creation of a city full of water and greenery. The second strategy is introducing cutting-edge digital technology. The third strategy is the implementation of projects utilizing green finance. The fourth strategy is enhancing transportation networks for a sustainable city.

Before adopting the name "Tokyo," the city was known as "Edo," which had been one of the world's largest cities. This is Ukiyo-e which was painted with techniques from traditional Japanese wood-block prints depicting the lives of people in the Edo period. A sustainable economy was formed here in which the recycling and reuse of goods and materials occurred in all aspects of life. Because of this, a city rich in natural harmony was raised. We will create a new Tokyo where the "tradition" of our city is combined with the "innovation" of cutting-edge technologies. Through these efforts, we want to make a better future for all.

Thank you very much for your attention.

The wording in the article does not necessarily correspond to what was actually said.