Tokyo Gubernatorial Election 2020: Candidate Profile for Taisuke Ono

This is the third post introducing candidates in the Tokyo governor race.

Check this post for more information on Governor Koike’s policies, and this post for Kenji Utsunomiya’s policies.

The goal of these profiles is to get readers to know all the candidates on one website. I want to help people find information with minimal effort.

This post will focus on Taisuke Ono (who is backed by the Japan Innovation Party) and his policies.


Name/Age: Taisuke Ono/46 years old

Former Occupation: Vice-governor of Kumamoto

Political Party: Independent (Supported by the Japan Innovation Party)

Slogan: One person’s decision will change the metropolitan government

Official WebsiteTwitter


  • Use data to provide a scientific approach to respond to COVID-19
  • Will deal with economic/social issues in the same way
  • Need to come up with ways to revive Tokyo’s tourism without relying too much on inbound tourists 
  • Need to address Tokyo’s overconcentration: vitalize travel/interaction between Tokyo and other regions
  • Create a response to an earthquake that directly hits the Tokyo area
    • Measures to protect citizens, address aging infrastructure, and establishing an evacuation system
    • Will utilize experiences from the Kumamoto earthquake

2020 Policies

① COVID-19 Response

  • Balancing the pandemic response & economic/educational recovery
    • Regulate/limit activities of specific industries & compensate individuals 
  • Reconsider the Tokyo Alert (conditions to issue an alert remain unclear) & roadmap which will take too long to implement
  • Set a target value through rapid digitalization & information disclosure
  • Create a crisis management plan (ex. pandemics/earthquakes) & a long-term evacuation system in collaboration with other prefectures 
  • Resolve the delay in handing out cooperation money to smaller businesses that temporarily closed down
  • Expand the safety net to levels greater than when the 2008 financial crisis hit
  • Establish a COVID-19 ICU center to respond to potential second/third waves of cases
  • Ensure PCR tests can be conducted swiftly if a doctor decides it is necessary & promote antigen testing
  • Create measures to prevent the spread of infection by conducting large scale antibody tests

② A New Tokyo

  • Promote the evening economy & provide accurate information about the spread of the virus around Tokyo’s nightlife districts
  • Promote outdoor activities through outdoor cafes, food trucks, parklets (sidewalk extensions), and more training equipment in parks
  • Diversify work styles by promoting things like remote work
  • Solve the issue of overcrowded trains by promoting satellite cities (cities close to a metro area that manages/contains unplanned expansion of cities) in cooperation with other prefectures
  • Next-gen transportation city: in order to reduce traffic/overcrowded trains, consider implementing dynamic pricing (higher prices when higher demand) & self-driving technology 
  • Through remote work/satellite cities, gather companies that are the forefront of financial, ICT (info & communication technology) and AI technologies in the metro area
  • Waterborne transportation: deregulate shipping, allowing the transportation of goods and use for commute 
  • Consider privatizing some parts of government-owned enterprises
    • Merge Tokyo-owned transportation & the Tokyo Metro 
  • Improve industrial/service efficiency through secure digital infrastructure & gather high-tech industries (ex. AI) in one area
    • Consider utilizing the corporate tax reduction in the special districts (23 wards)
  • Sharing economy
    • Promote an economy where we share/trade goods, services, and spaces/venues
    • Would like ride-sharing & private lodging businesses (ex. Airbnb) to be more commonly used
  • Revitalizing regional economies to resolve the issue of over-centralization in Tokyo
    • Redistribute people, information, and capital/financial assets to other regions
  • Continue bidding for the integrated resort (IR), while also upholding the transparency of the process

③ Administrative/financial reform

  • “Sacrificial” reform: cut governor’s retirement pay & consider longer Q&A’s in the metropolitan assembly
  • In order to procure funds (due to a 95% cut in fiscal adjustment funds & predicted lower corporate taxes), need to review all projects and get rid of the revolving door (retiring officials get good jobs at new employer)
  • Hand over part of the metropolitan government’s financial assets/authority to municipalities
  • Fairly evaluate government employees & allow them to try without fear of failure (mindset reform)
  • Improve efficiency & quality of service by digitalizing official documents/archives (no seals/FAX)
  • Thorough disclosure of information—ensure important documents are not destroyed
    • Utilize technologies like blockchain management to institutionalize the preservation of  documents

④ Social Welfare

  • Disaster prevention
    • Create a hazard map (shows areas in danger) for areas with a high population of wooden houses & areas below-sea-level 
  • Enact regulations that recognize same-sex partnerships & consider extending that for other partnerships
  • Increase cancer examination rates & support the continuous employment of cancer patients
    • Expand the field of those eligible for subsidies, disseminate accurate information, and promote cervical cancer vaccinations
  • Support pregnancy, delivery, and childcare
    • Reduce clerical burdens on nursery teachers & school teachers
    • Expand subsidies & discounts for fertility treatment 
    • Introduction of child support vouchers 
    • Improving work conditions for nursery teachers (ex. handouts)
  • Support single-parent households
    • Help children’s education by implementing a system where Tokyo will reimburse unpaid child support for a certain period of time
  • Promote free tuition to attend metropolitan universities & create afterschool education vouchers to help children from low-income households get the education they need (Osaka has this system)
  • Review group education & club activities (likely to become a cluster)
  • Provide each student with a tablet and/or internet at home 
  • Creating a system that prevents child death by abuse  
    • Increase the number of employees at child consultation centers,
    • Cooperate with the police
    • Have a lawyer on the premises of the center at all times 
    • Expand the adoption/special adoption systems 
  • A Tokyo for all citizens 
    • Enact sign language regulations that make life easier for the hearing impaired
    • Support the employment of people with disabilities through new technology & short-time working 
  • Elderly care
    • Establish a comprehensive regional elderly care system that makes it easier to get medical care/nursing at home
    • Introduce a mixed care system (combine insured & uninsured services)
  • Match foreign technical intern trainees in Tokyo with local farmers who need manpower

⑤ Other Policies

  • Negotiate the postponement of the Olympic Games until 2024 
  • Reexamining the process of the Tsukiji fish market relocation to Toyosu
    • Open the Toyosu fish market’s roof to the public
    • Redevelop the Tsukiji fish market site
  • Attract tourists by reconstructing the Edo castle tower (tenshu)
  • Utilize public property owned by Tokyo to improve finances & make meaningful use of the property for citizens
  • In order to promote the Tama region as a satellite city, need to create an economic development plan
    • Improve the city’s function as a place to live and work 
    • Develop transportation to make it easier for people to move between the city and the metro area
  • Tosho region
    • Send a request to the national government to deregulate online medical consultations
    • Expand the use of online classes to close the education gap 
  • Support large-scale events like the Comic Market 

First Impressions

  • Proposes policies that are appropriate for our times (ex. more digitalization)
  • Differentiates himself from other candidates by discussing Tokyo’s over-concentration—something that comes from his experience as vice-governor of Kumamoto
  • Difficult to gauge how older voters will respond to the “newer” policies he proposes

You can understand why the Japan Innovation Party chose to back Ono. He comes off as someone with the same vigor as governor Yoshimura of Osaka (who is part of the Innovation Party). It’s great that he has an eye for new things.

Personally, I like the fact that he promises to resolve Tokyo’s over-concentration issue. However, in an election where name recognition matters, Ono’s lack of name ID is a disadvantage compared to the likes of Governor Koike and Kenji Utsunomiya.

As things stand, Ono will probably place 3rd or 4th. If he intends to become governor, he will need to differentiate himself from other candidates and prove his policies are attainable.

The next post will look at Taro Yamamoto’s policies.

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