Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara on Tuesday took a step toward cracking down on crime, formally appointing former National Police Agency officer Yutaka Takehana as vice governor in charge of security.

The move was approved earlier in the day by the metropolitan assembly.

The legislature’s green light for Takehana, who will start his four-year term Wednesday, came during the first day of the regular assembly session.

During his policy speech to the assembly, Ishihara again pledged to fight crime and ease public fears over deteriorating safety in the capital.

“We will take every step to alleviate public anxiety . . . It is no exaggeration to say that maintaining security best serves public welfare,” he said.

Ishihara said he will specifically crack down on foreign crime organizations operating in Tokyo and tighten border controls at Tokyo port to prevent the illegal entry of foreigners.

During a news conference later in the day, Takehana underscored the importance of Tokyo in maintaining security in the rest of the country, as many crime syndicates operate out of the capital and extend their reach to other regions.

“It is Tokyo that has a decisive impact over the country’s security,” said Takehana, 54, whose last stint at the NPA was as chief of the Hiroshima Prefectural Police.

A total 301,913 criminal cases, excluding those related to traffic violations, were reported in Tokyo in 2002, up 20.2 percent from 1998, according to a report compiled by the Metropolitan Police Department.

Takehana said that to prevent crime it is important to create a social environment in which people, including the public and government officials, cooperate with each other.

“I hope to contribute to forming a common front to prevent crimes,” Takehana said.

The governor of Tokyo can appoint up to four vice governors, and Ishihara has said he wants to work with three. In addition to Takehana, the reappointment of Masamichi Fukunaga, 61, was also endorsed by the metropolitan assembly Tuesday. Takeo Hamauzu, 55, is Ishihara’s third deputy.

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