Gurugram can learn from five things that Tokyo got right
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Gurugram can learn from five things that Tokyo got right

There is a lot that people can do to make Gurugram smarter. Residents and authorities can collaborate to achieve what Tokyo could and bring about a positive change.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 30, 2018 14:33 IST
gurugram,keiji nakajima,tokyo
Passengers boarding a Shinkansen train at Tokyo station.(AP FIle )

As a long-time resident of Gurugram, I believe there is a lot that people can do to make the city better and smarter. There are examples abound from other cities that we can take a cue from. I would like to share, for instance, the things that Tokyo did right. Residents and authorities of Gurugram can collaborate to achieve what Tokyo could and bring about a positive change.

1. The air in Tokyo is clean

Tokyo in the 1950s and 1970s was one of the world’s most polluted cities. The air in Tokyo was so dirty that often, the sun seemed to be invisible because of pollutants emitted from factories and automobiles.

The Tokyo metropolitan government implemented full-scale pollution control measures, such as regulations on smoke and requested production plants in polluted districts to use low sulphur oil and implemented regulations on diesel vehicles.

Companies, as well as citizens, who recognised the necessity and importance of governmental policy, followed the norms strictly. Many companies invested funds for pollution control.

All drivers observe traffic rules such as speed limit and stop the engine during signal waiting time to reduce exhaust gas.

No matter how many good policies and laws the government makes, nothing will improve unless people become serious about following them.

2. Efficient and convenient transportation network that does not require private cars

Most people living in Tokyo do not own a private car. They use trains, buses and taxis.

It is said that the rail network in Tokyo is the world’s best. More than

95% of residents in Tokyo use land track and subways. There are two subway companies, of which Tokyo Metro Co. Ltd. carries 7.24 million per day (960 million people per year) with 2,728 trains. It has a network spanning

195 kilometres and 179 stations, which are near houses and offices because of short distance between stations (a maximum length of 2.7 km, a minimum of 0.3 km.) The timetable is extremely accurate. Passengers do not need to wait for a long time at the station platform as a train starts every few minutes.

3. Vending machines on the roads sell many products for 24 hours

Many items such as tobacco, coffee, T-shirt, instant noodles, ice cream, umbrella, gloves can be purchased at a vending machine anytime. There is no guard because no one steals money by breaking the vending machine. ATM is available for 24 hours and convenience stores are everywhere and open 24 hours. Therefore, they do not need to stock more foods and household goods than necessary, as they can buy only the required items at a local shop.

4. Tokyo is one of the safest cities in the world

Most Japanese women do not feel unsafe even if walking alone in the middle of the night. Also, although there are some police stations, we hardly see a policeman on the street. There is no guard deployed in residences, not even in the houses of rich people.

5. Most of Japanese are kind and polite

Foreign travellers visiting Japan are deeply moved by the kindness and hospitality of locals. For example, if a foreigner asks the way in the street, they will never be ignored and the locals will try to respond. Japan is a country of harmony and respect for each other. It’s a matter of shame to annoy others, lie or deceive people. Locals grow up with a spirit of altruism.

I hope such traditional values can be preserved and followed in the time to come.

(Keiji Nakajima runs a chain or restaurants in Gurugram, Manesar and Delhi. He has also served as an adviser to the Haryana government)

First Published: Jun 30, 2018 14:32 IST