Transport development and support for senior citizens are shared objectives for Moscow and Tokyo
The Russian-Japanese Council of Governors took place at the Petrovsky Travellers Palace in Moscow on May 13-14. Participants discussed the development of economic and cultural relations between the two countries.
The meeting was attended by Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina Matviyenko and members of the committees, heads of Russian regions and prefectures of Japan, and representatives from the Russian government and the National Association of Governors of Japan. Among them are the Special Representative of Russian President on International Cultural Cooperation and Ambassador at Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Mikhail Shvydkoyi, and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Russia Toyohisa Kozuki.
Modern Japanese-Russian relations are developing across different spheres, said Toyohisa Kozuki. According to him, heads of regions in Russia and Japan play a major role in the development and strengthening of cooperation between the two countries. “Russia has a vast territory. Each region is individual. In Japan, each region also has its own characteristics and strengths. A big role in the development of each region belongs to you, gentlemen governors,” Toyohisa Kozuki added.
Plenary and bilateral meetings were held during the Council of Governors, during which participants discussed the development of economic and cultural ties between Japan and Russia, as well as other issues.
“I am glad that our Japanese colleagues and friends will have the opportunity to see a new, more beautiful Moscow, which has changed a lot over the years. There will be an opportunity to exchange experience in the development of road, transport and other infrastructure in large metropolitan areas, and most importantly to share experience in creating a comfortable environment, comfortable living conditions for citizens of our countries, which the Mayor of Moscow and his team have successfully managed to do,” said Valentina Matviyenko Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
Major Russian and Japanese cities have similar objectives and challenges. Among them, according to the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin, is the development of transport infrastructure, as well as environmental conservation. “Moscow allocates a lot of resources in order to improve traffic on roads, the transportation in our city and agglomeration. Together with you, we think about how a person who is leaving their apartment gets into the car, a bus, how quickly they get to work, how comfortable public transport is, how environmentally friendly it is,” Sergey Sobyanin said, “This is probably the number one challenge for large agglomerations, for developing territories.”
Additionally, Mr. Sobyanin sees the need for an exchange of experience in the field of education between Russia and Japan. According to him, the Japanese school system is among the most powerful and competitive in the world. “In fact, by addressing issues such as education, we directly influence our children to be competitive in our city, in our country, and in the world. And we are paying a lot of attention to this. Children are under great stress. They receive a large amount of knowledge, we overload them with assignments, but at the same time we do it consciously, understanding how important this is. And this, of course, is an important sphere for an exchange of experience. Because the whole world knows the Japanese school system, how competitive and strong it is, but our regions also have a lot to share in this respect,” the Mayor of Moscow said.
Another modern challenge facing Japan and Russia today is the rapid increase in the number of senior citizens. “Today in Moscow, more than 600,000 people are over 80 years old. And in a few more years there will be over a million. In Japan, in the provinces, there is the same situation – the majority of the population is rapidly aging. But at the same time, talking to the older generation, I see how they strive to be active and needed. They do not want to stay at home and do not want to be on the sidelines in life,” Sergey Sobyanin said. Therefore, the authorities must provide older people with adequate medical care, as well as enable them to live a full life.
In order to manage a big city, it’s important to cooperate with the population effectively – a challenge that modern IT solutions help address. “We have to introduce new technologies that allow citizens to participate in city management, which would solve most of the small and large problems of each territory. Without new technologies, without electronic voting, without interaction with the public, this is impossible to build,” Sergey Sobyanin said. According to him, this work can drastically change the management system of modern cities.