We will advance measures in both tangible and intangible forms to realize a “safe city” where citizens can lead active lives while feeling safe and secure.
With a system for promoting the removal of utility poles developed through establishment of an ordinance and fund last year, we will continue to steadily push forward with this initiative by formulating a plan tentatively called the “Utility Pole Removal Plan” within this fiscal year, which is based on the ordinance. Along with this effort, we will provide support to the municipalities in formulating plans to advance utility pole removal, initiating work on narrow roads, and introducing low-cost methods. It is projected that 43 special wards and cities will use our support in the next fiscal year, accelerating efforts on municipal roads. Having the citizens of Tokyo actually perceive how this has made roads used in daily life safer with enhanced disaster mitigation functions, and has improved the landscape as well, will lead to further advancements in the removal of utility poles.
In order to build communities that are fire resistant and seismic resistant, we need to urgently make districts with close-set wooden houses fireproof. To that end, we will advance not only the elimination of vacant houses, but also measures that incorporate new concepts such as using metropolitan land to promote the move of land rights holders while maintaining their communities.
With regard to the earthquake-resistance of houses, we have been providing focused support to districts projected to incur severe damage, such as areas with a particularly high concentration of old wooden buildings. As such efforts are now steadily underway in those districts, support will be expanded to areas outside those districts, with the aim of achieving by fiscal 2020 an earthquake resistance rate of 95 percent for houses.
Last month, we released an outline of the Safe City Tokyo Disaster Preparedness Plan, which will provide guidelines for advancing disaster preparedness measures together with Tokyo citizens in a speedy manner. Particular focus was put on ensuring that the plan works effectively through approaches such as making it easy to understand and announcing the progress of its initiatives every fiscal year. Taking into consideration the opinions of Tokyo citizens as well, we will unveil a completed version of the plan at the end of this fiscal year.
As I have mentioned before, women’s perspectives have not been sufficiently incorporated in disaster preparedness measures compiled in the past. The TMG’s new guidebook “Disaster Readiness Guide: Protect Yourself and Your Family” has been prepared based on the opinions of women, centering on experts and including volunteer fire corps members and Tokyo residents. The guidebook introduces disaster preparedness actions that you can incorporate into your daily life. We are preparing to distribute copies of this guidebook, starting next month, at metropolitan facilities and municipal offices, as well as places in your neighborhood like post offices and hair salons. We will also do more to enhance our disaster preparedness efforts. This includes starting seminars for women to learn the basics of disaster management, as well as training programs for fostering women who can take on leading roles in the event of a disaster, so that sufficient attention is paid to the unique needs of women, such as securing places within evacuation centers for changing clothes and breastfeeding. In addition, we will help spread the use of liquid baby formula in Japan.
We are also going to improve our counterterrorism measures. In the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Games, in order to strengthen protection in the waterfront area, which is home to Haneda Airport, some of the Games venues, and the Athletes Village, we will prepare to establish a special unit within the Metropolitan Police Department to be on guard against terrorist attacks from the sea. In addition, the Tokyo Fire Department will establish the Integrated Task Forces (tentative name) dedicated to responding to large-scale terrorist attacks and disasters, to boost its command and rescue capabilities.
We will also strengthen regulations on nuisances to Tokyo citizens. We plan to revise the TMG’s so-called anti-nuisance ordinance so that we can enforce regulations on malicious acts that are not covered by existing rules, including secretly taking photos and videos using increasingly smaller devices and online stalking via social networking services. Also, we will establish the Ordinance on Safety on Water to make it a punishable offense to use water scooters and other similar watercraft on canals and rivers in Tokyo in a way that is dangerous or annoying to others. We have presented both bills to this regular session of the Assembly in an effort to make our citizens feel safer. Your deliberations will be highly appreciated.
We will also work to build a healthcare system that makes people feel secure. Last month, a report by an expert panel was released, describing what roles metropolitan hospitals should play in the future and how those hospitals should be managed to fulfill those roles. We will study their valuable proposals and those we can readily adopt will be incorporated in the next medium-term plan, which will be compiled at the end of this fiscal year. We will also give careful consideration to their opinions on hospital management.
With ambulance unit deployment rising to record highs, another urgent challenge would be to further enhance our emergency medical services. For quick arrival of rescue workers -- which is critical for improving the survival rate -- in addition to increasing the number of rescue units, we will combine approaches to stem demand and operate efficiently by promoting the use of our emergency medical consultation service and building an AI-based demand forecasting system. In this way, we aim to reduce the average response time to within seven minutes by the Tokyo 2020 Games.
A shopping street bringing vibrancy to the local community is a symbol of the “Safe City” full of vitality. However, these local streets are facing difficulties, with more and more stores forced to close and remaining vacant due to diversifying consumer lifestyles and a lack of successors. To break through this situation, we must implement strategic measures while reviewing projects that have largely completed their roles. We will place priority on implementing measures that encourage the future development of these streets, such as assisting business startups by women and young people -- who will be the future proprietors of shopping streets, as well as supporting entrepreneurship and business succession that will lead to fewer vacant stores.
The number of vacant houses is also increasing every year. We will steadily take measures for keeping houses from becoming vacant and encouraging proper management and effective use of unoccupied properties, such as raising awareness on how such houses can be used, creating a system to match up owners and potential users, and promoting their public use, to help revitalize local communities.