Tokyo aims to become No. 1 in the world for tourism and is focusing its efforts on successfully hosting the 2020 Olympic Games, Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe said in an interim report on his “long-term vision” for the capital.
The plan will be finalized in the next few months, with the release slated for December.
Pointing to New York City as a model, Masuzoe said Friday that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government aims to establish the capital as an international brand in tourism. He wants to boost Japan’s tourism numbers to 18 million by 2024, compared with 6.8 million in 2013, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
To do this, Tokyo will strengthen its promotion efforts, install more multilingual electronic guide maps and expand free Wi-Fi services.
The plan also covers training volunteers for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics so there will be more than 30,000 bilingual guides to help foreigner visitors, 10,000 general volunteers and 3,000 volunteer tour guides.
“I have a feeling the numbers will eventually exceed these,” Masuzoe said, adding the metropolitan government wants to nurture a deeper culture of volunteerism in Tokyo by 2024, with 40 percent of all Tokyoites participating.
Noting that he wants to ensure the capital’s continued development after the games, Masuzoe said he will join efforts to address Japan’s demographic problems as well, including the dwindling birthrate and the rapid rise in the elderly population.
To that end, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will seek to reduce the number of children on nursery school waiting lists by increasing the number of facilities so that 40,000 more children can be enrolled by the end of fiscal 2017.
The plans also include increasing the number of after-school care services in Tokyo, including those at schools, so more elementary school students can get access to “gakudo” (care facilities for schoolchildren) until their parents get home from work, Masuzoe said.
As for nursing care for the elderly, plans are being made to expand the capacity of special nursing homes to 60,000 people, up from roughly 40,000 in fiscal 2013.
The plan also aims to place around 23,000 people with dementia in group homes, up from about 8,500, and increase the number of nursing care homes from 14,000 to more than 20,000.
The deadline for these goals is the end of fiscal 2025.
“I am very determined to achieve these measures,” Masuzoe stressed, adding that although it’s important to focus efforts on the 2020 Olympics, it is just as critical to value the “legacy, or the sustainable effects that will be handed over to the future of Tokyo.”
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