New Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike repeated her pledge to shake up politics in the capital in response to voters’ demands for change as she assumed office Tuesday.
“This wasn’t just a slogan I used for the election,” Koike said during her inaugural news conference at Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters in Shinjuku Ward.
Koike, Tokyo’s first female governor, said she will start off her term with an overhaul of the metropolitan government’s organization and duties in a push to produce more tangible results.
She also vowed to prioritize the needs of Tokyo residents and vowed more transparency in the metropolitan government’s practices and handling of funds.
As part of this, Koike said she has established teams to investigate existing regulations on the use of the government-owned cars and will seek advice from a third-party panel on how best to cut costs.
She vowed more transparency on how public funds are to be spent and pledged to disclose this information to the public.
Opaqueness in government is believed to have contributed to recent financial scandals involving her two predecessors, Naoki Inose and Yoichi Masuzoe. The governor she directly replaced, Masuzoe, used public funds for private purposes, sparking public outrage.
Koike plans to disclose the interim results of the probe around September.
She said she is in the process of verifying procedures that will allow her to halve or decrease her salary, as promised during the campaign. She said this will be one of her first moves as governor.
She also said she will seek ways to possibly reduce the financial burden of hosting the 2020 Olympics. The Tokyo Games have been dogged by cost overruns.
As she seeks to build a more vibrant city, Koike said she hopes to establish a system where residents can better communicate their needs.
“I want to upgrade Tokyo to a safer, more diverse city where all residents can utilize their talents regardless of their background, and change it into a ‘smart city’ with the potential for future development,” she said.
The former defense and environment minister, who ran without the backing of any political party, received 2.91 million votes in a resounding electoral triumph.
Koike said she believes the result reflects a hunger for change in the capital.
Upon arrival at the metropolitan government building in the morning, Koike said she felt a keen sense of responsibility to live up to these expectations.
During a meeting with lawmakers from the metropolitan assembly, she expressed her hopes of cooperation in meeting these goals, including her quest to stamp out corruption.
“I want to regain the trust in the governor’s office” that was destroyed by the practices of her predecessors, she said.
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