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OVERVIEW OF TOKYO
THE STRUCTURE OF THE TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT (TMG)
TMG and the Municipalities
Tokyo Metropolis, in addition to the 23 special wards mentioned previously that are special local public entities, also contains 39 municipalities - 26 cities (shi), 5 towns (cho) and 8 villages (son) - that are ordinary local public entities. The administrative and financial systems for the metropolitan government and its municipalities are the same as those for other prefectures. The government and its individual municipalities work on equal footing in performing the work in these categories, the former handling the broader administrative work and the latter overseeing services closer to the everyday lives of local residents. This integrated process is distinguished by the following elements.
Management of Services
- Firefighting Services, Waterworks
Firefighting services and waterworks are sectors that are generally designated as municipal services by law. In Tokyo Metropolis, however, the prevailing view is that these services can be handled more efficiently on a broader scale and that such an approach also serves to lessen the financial burden. Therefore, with the exception of certain municipalities, the metropolitan government oversees all of these services.
- Joint Operations
As with the operations mentioned above, for services that can be handled with greater effectiveness and efficiency on a broad basis, the related municipalities establish cooperatives serving as special local public entities, based on the stipulations of the Local Autonomy Law.
The number of such cooperatives in the municipalities is 30 and they handle a broad range of services, which include the establishment and management of waste disposal sites and incineration plants, the operation of public hospitals and profit-making projects.
- TMG Assistance Programs
Each municipality is seeking efficient administrative and fiscal management through efforts such as constant review of service operations in order to address increasingly diverse administrative demands that include measures for declining birthrates and a growing elderly population, and the development of a safe and secure community. The future state of administrative and fiscal operations cannot be foreseen, however, due to reduction in municipal tax revenues from the prolonged stagnation of local economy and lack of clarification on changes in municipal fiscal structure that will accompany the "trinity reform" put forward by the national government. There is even the possibility that some regions will face further difficulties.
The metropolitan government promotes measures aimed at tackling the challenges faced by the Tama area, the outlying islands and other regions, and also furnishes assistance customized for the administrative requirements of each individual municipality.
The metropolitan government takes an active stance to promote regional administration through various supportive measures such as financial assistance in the form of TMG-disbursed funding, and technical advice to upgrade regional sewerage systems.
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