Inose orders all departments to start tweeting

by Mizuho Aoki

Staff Writer

New Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose vowed Tuesday not only to continue the policies of his predecessor, Shintaro Ishihara, but also to let a fresh breeze into his office, including by increasing the use of social-networking services for sending out information to the public.

The 66-year-old former vice governor was greeted by about 1,000 metropolitan officials when he arrived for work for the first time since he was elected to the top job Sunday.

Inose served as vice governor for five years and five months under Ishihara, who endorsed him as his successor when he abruptly resigned in October to run for a Diet seat. With backing from Ishihara’s Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, Inose beat eight opponents, gaining an unprecedented 4 million-plus votes.

“I ordered all the departments in the office to create Twitter accounts today,” Inose, 66, said during the first news conference since his lopsided landslide win. “The term ‘information disclosure’ is outdated. It’s the time of social-networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter.”

The prizewinning nonfiction writer said the metropolitan government currently has 13 Twitter accounts. From now on, each of the more than 30 departments should create an account and send out information directly to the public, he said.

During the March 11, 2011, disasters, Inose used Twitter to send out much-needed information, including when train services in the capital would resume.

He also dispatched a Tokyo rescue team to tsunami-hit Miyagi Prefecture after receiving an SOS via Twitter from a resident who was stranded in a public hall.

“I want (the metropolitan government) to use SNS for crisis management as well as to send out daily information,” said Inose, who has about 280,000 followers on his Twitter account.

He also said he wants to use Twitter and Facebook to raise public interest in the capital’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Inose also pledged to speed up efforts toward other goals he was pursuing as vice governor, including the merger of the Tokyo Metro and Toei subway systems and to reform Tokyo Electric Power Co., in which the metropolitan government has the largest stake.