Sympathy for Those Affected by Disasters

 Damages due to heavy snowfall have been reported in wide areas along the Sea of Japan, including serious ones mainly in the Hokuriku Region such as Fukui Prefecture. In addition, the eruption of Mt. Shinmoedake in the Kirishima Mountain Range on the border between Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures has caused devastating damages. I would like to express my sympathy for those affected by these disasters.

Measures against Snowfall Damages (Volunteers to Restore Sand and Pines, etc.)

 Tottori Prefecture has also suffered major damages in the recent heavy snowfall. I’m determined to rise to the occasion together with our prefectural residents and work on the recovery efforts. A series of organizations including the Lions club and the International Soroptimist Tottori have offered donation after donation, which I’m grateful for. We have been inspired by one particular letter and decided to appeal to the national public to join our volunteer activities for the recovery of pine forests damaged by the snowfall. In the Yumigahama Peninsula and the Tottori Sand Dune, whose landscapes have been devastated by the snowfall, we will try and muster everybody’s strength in order to restore the white sand and green pines, which are a symbol of Tottori Prefecture.

Mutual Cooperation Agreement with NEXCO-West in Case of Disasters

 Out of the review on the occurrence of a major traffic jam on Route 9 due to the heavy snowfall during the New Year’s holidays, we have decided to conclude an agreement with NEXCO-West (West Nippon Expressway Company Limited) on mutual cooperation in case of major disasters and the like. This agreement will enable us to assist each other in dealing not only with heavy snowfall but also with disasters in general, through such measures as the mutual exploitation of not only national and prefectural roads but also equipment including snow removers.

Initial Budget for Fiscal 2011

 The initial budget (for fiscal 2011) will cover various expenses including countermeasures against snowfall damages and special subsidies for medical care for children, and will be worth 323.3 billion yen in the end. Since it’s a skeleton budget, its amount is expected to be slightly smaller that the initial budget of last fiscal year.

Foodstuff Promotion in Tokyo

 We will run a sales campaign for Tottori Prefecture’s new foodstuff brands in Tokyo. On February 7, we are scheduled to hold a tasting of the boar meat Inshu Shishiniku (“Tottori’s boar meat”) in our antenna shop in Tokyo. We are also planning to hold a tasting event in the Tokyo metropolitan district and promote, as our new brand, one of Tottori Prefecture’s wonderful beef breeds which contains healthy fatty acid called oleic acid at the rate of more than 55 percent under the name “Tottori Wagyu Olein 55.”

MLIT Parliamentary Secretary’s Visit to Sakai Port

 It’s been decided that Parliamentary Secretary of the MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport), Mr. Ichimura will visit Tottori and inspect Sakai Port, which was designated as a recycle port (vein physical distribution port: “vein” is a metaphor of “recycle process”) the other day. He is in charge of selecting key ports with a view to the Japan-Sea Rim Era. We will seize this opportunity and let him deepen his understanding on the importance of the ship service across the Sea of Japan and the necessity of port improvement.

Participation in Seminar of Business Circles in Kansai

 I have been scheduled to participate as a panelist in a seminar held under the theme of “Prosperous Road together with Asia-from Kansai ”with the participation of parties in financial circles and economic quarters of the Kansai Region. I will promote a variety of attractive exchange routes including Sakai Port and Tottori Port (both in Tottori Prefecture) and the San’in Region.

Schedule, etc.

 “Tottori Power Creation Seminar” is scheduled to open on February 5 with Mr. C.W. Nicol as a guest, in order to exchange ideas on environmental and other issues. In the weekend, a variety of events will be held, including “Chizu-juku Snow Festival .” Ski resorts in Tottori Prefecture are full of snow now, so I strongly hope that a lot of people will come there.

Q. If you were to put a theme on the initial budget for fiscal 2011, what would it be?

 In compiling the initial budget, we have put focused emphasis on three items: job security, recovery from the snowfall damages, and support for child-rearing. In relation to the economy and employment, we are planning to introduce a pioneering subsidization system nationwide, under which the previous requirements will be eased and subsidies will be provided to companies for their facility investment if they intend to switch to another business category for the purpose of maintaining their employment, although it’s not expected to result in any increase of the number of employees. With regard to support for rearing children, we are planning to tackle various challenges, such as the enhancement of medical care subsidies, or the introduction of the cooperative education system of elementary, junior high and high schools by making the most of the advantages of small communities.

Q. The final reform plan for Tottori University of Environmental Studies proposes the curriculum which reflects the prefecture’s policies to a large degree. What effects do you expect from it in attracting students?

 (After the reporter’s referring to trade and commerce across the Sea of Japan and manga comics, which are included in the curriculum proposal,) Amid the progress of globalization, the Japan Sea Rim Era is a theme that the children, who will be responsible for the future generations, are required to be familiar with, and I think it’s what students are seeking. In addition, creative industries such as manga comics are extremely popular among youngsters, so I expect the lectures on such items to be interesting and attractive. Also, the establishment of a faculty of business administration has been proposed for the first time in the San’in Region, which I expect will attract students from a wide range of areas.

Q. Tokyo is considering introducing the common number system for social security and tax. What’s your take on this?

 The issue of privacy naturally exists. However, hiding one’s property or neglecting the payment obligations of national citizens by highlighting the issue can be regarded as abuse of rights to privacy. As a matter of course, it’s necessary to make sure that the relevant information will not be leaked. Sufficient discussions should be required in order to reach a conclusion.