Tokyo governor eyes a cleaner metropolis

Tokyo Gov. Yukio Aoshima, who will enter the last half of his four-year term next week, said April 18 that his priority in the remaining tenure will be a fight against garbage and changing Tokyo into a city of recycling.

“Mass production and consumption that directly lead to mass waste dumping will inevitably ruin urban life,” Aoshima said at the news conference. Aoshima admitted that the target of cutting the waste in the capital in half may sound too bold, but the object is to raise the awareness of Tokyo’s local governments, residents and businesses, he said.

Aoshima was elected two years ago and took office on April 24, 1995. In the gubernatorial election, Aoshima defeated other influential candidates with support from unaffiliated voters who expected him to break fee from elite bureaucrat-led politics.

The governor, however, has been under harsh criticism from citizens for becoming “too bureaucratic” in handling such issues as information disclosure of the municipal government’s entertainment expenses and the waterfront development project. Asked to grade his achievements so far on a scale of 100, Aoshima said he at least got a “pass mark” of around 60. “There has been a lot of criticism in various areas. But I’ve done my own best and I think I can at least receive a pass mark,” Aoshima said.