When it comes to initiatives to conserve the global environment, it is often difficult to ensure that countries keep pace with one another. However, at the local government level which lies closest to the lives of people, a wide range of individuals and organizations such as citizens, universities and research institutes, industrial and economic circles, and environmental groups can work as one to take action while sharing the same sense of crisis and mission. We firmly believe that such concerted actions will eventually transform the national governments and the international community.
I consider it the responsibility of Kyoto City, where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, to take the initiative in communicating model efforts to mitigate global warming to the rest of the world and expanding the circle of such efforts. In order to fulfill this responsibility, as the Chair of the Regional Executive Committee for East Asia and the Japan representative, I will continue to devote all my energies to actively promoting ICLEI’s projects, expanding its membership, and establishing closer cooperation among its members in the future. Thus I will work with everyone in the world to steadily advance initiatives in order to create sustainable cities in the world.
Population: Approximately 1.47 million (2014)
Kyoto is an inland city situated in the center of the Kyoto Basin. With three-fourths of its land covered by forests, it is one of the country’s prominent cities blessed with great natural beauty.
It is a historic city that still retains the traditional culture and historic townscapes developed by its long history of over 1,200 years. It is also a city of manufacturing based on traditional industries, where leading-edge industries also prosper, driven by enterprising spirits and creative power. In addition, it is an internationally recognized cultural tourist destination that attracts 50 million tourists annually, as well as a city of universities where some 150,000 students learn. Even by international standards, Kyoto is a city of rare diversity and depth.
Through the “Kyoto City Program of Global Warming Countermeasure,” the Kyoto city government aims at creating a “Walking City” where people and public transportation are prioritized, as well as a “City of Energy Creation and Community Recycling.” . The city is making an effort to realize a low-carbon society by 2030, under the slogan “DO YOU KYOTO? (Are you doing anything good for the environment?)” In those efforts, it cooperates with citizens, business operators, and other parties concerned, making the most of the power of its citizens and local communities supported by the tradition of self-government. An example of its efforts is to shift to the “Kyoto Lifestyle,” a concept that brings out the best in the wisdom and enthusiasm of people who have coexisted and harmonized with nature. The city is communicating such initiatives to the world. In addition, following the horrific accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Kyoto formulated the Strategy for Kyoto City Energy Policy Promotion. In accordance with this strategy, it is actively implementing the energy policy that makes maximum use of the city’s unique characteristics in order to realize a sustainable energy society that does not rely on nuclear power generation. The main objectives of this policy are to promote thorough energy conservation, spread renewable energy and expand its use dramatically, develop Kyoto into a ”smart city,” and bring green innovations.