Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) announced today a proposal which would appoint Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki to a newly created post of Bicycle Promotion Minister. Excuse me for not getting excited about this.
Tasks facing the new minister would include promoting the bicycle as an effective means of transport ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, improving cycling infrastructure by increasing the number of bicycle parking lots, installing bicycle lanes and the possible introduction of a bicycle share system in Tokyo.
While we would welcome a newly created post of Bicycle Promotion Minister we question if Tanigaki is the right person for the job, even given his love of long distance cycling. The LDP have a track history of cronyism, and while there is no indication of who will work with the Bicycle Promotion Minister, but we assume there will be more career politicians, representatives of companies with a vested interests and countless Tokyo University "experts" and academics who have been on the government payroll for decades.
Whatever eventuates you can rest assured that public consultation will never feature in the decision making process and that our voices will go unheard.
While this should be a happy day for cycling advocates around Japan, how can we get excited about a bunch of politicians, sons and grandsons of politicians, with track records of corruption, self serving policies and ignoring public opinion, electing one of their ilk to a position that holds so much promise?
But there is at least one positive, we now know where to send our complaints about bicycling infrastructure in Japan, even if they will fall on deaf ears.
October 25, 2013
Japan Proposes Appointment of Bicycle Promotion Minister
Father of two, husband of one, lover of family, bicycles and running.
Urban Cycling Consultant, Tokyo By Bike.
Byron Kidd is the founder of the Tokyo By Bike website, writer, experienced urban cyclist, and expert on cycling in the staggering metropolis of Tokyo.
Working with NPO's and cycling activists to improve cycling infrastructure in Japan, Byron also operates internationally via a vast network of renowned urban mobility experts to promote Japanese cycling culture, and demonstrate how everyday cycling can work in megacities around the world. No city is too big for the bicycle.
Day Job, Software Developer.
Writing code and stuff, for games and things.