(Mainichi: February 14, 2017 – p. 6)
The government approved at a cabinet meeting on Feb. 13 its first basic policy plan on transportation to make the country’s tourism and industry more internationally competitive in anticipation of Tokyo’s hosting of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The plan sets forth targets for overall transportation polices from fiscal 2014 to 2020.
“The plan is well-balanced because we took various matters into consideration,” said Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Akihiro Ota after the cabinet meeting. “We will do our best to ensure steady implementation.”
The plan stresses the importance of strengthening the functions of Japan’s international airports and ports to survive intense competition with neighboring countries. It calls for increasing the number of international cities that Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports service on par with their Asian rivals. As of 2013, Haneda and Narita airports offered service to 88 cities, while South Korea’s Incheon and Gimpo airports combined had flights into 143 cities, followed by Hong Kong at 138 and Singapore’s Changi Airport at 134.
The plan also discusses how to better deal with the country’s declining population. It calls for introducing community buses and shared taxis outside cities to secure transportation means for local people. (Abridged)