Designation of Recycle Port

 Today the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport is planning to hold a press conference to announce the designation of new recycle ports (vein physical distribution ports). I hope and expect that Sakai Port (in Western Tottori Prefecture) will be designated as a recycle port on this occasion and a new (route of) commodity distribution connecting the world will be created.

Measures against Snowfall Damages, Tourist Attraction Campaign, etc.

 In order to overcome the negative reputation our tourism sector has suffered because of the heavy snowfall during the New Year’s holidays, we will launch the “Genki-Ippai Tottori-ken (Ultra-Vigorous Tottori Prefecture) Campaign” this weekend and try to attract tourists. We will also run a campaign from winter till the beginning of spring, in which we will offer Tottori Prefecture’s (local) products to visitors of accommodation or tourist facilities in Tottori Prefecture.  In relation to support for recovery from the damages caused by the snowfall, we are planning to lay out a serious of measures, such as exemption of the prefecture’s administrative fees for the fishing boats or subsidies for agricultural facilities and orchard arbors.

Budget Compilation

 Our initial budget compilation is underway. As the gubernatorial and assembly elections are scheduled for the period (from next March to April,) we will compile the skeleton budget during this time. Since we cannot be optimistic about our financial situation at all, in expectation of a slight increase in the tax revenues, we will try and keep the amount within the same level as last year. Our budget compilation is hampered by uncertainty about the allocation of the lump-sum subsidies from the national government. While making calculations and projections, we will prioritize ongoing projects which are urgently needed in compiling the budget.

Schedule, etc

 The International Manga Summit will finally open in Tottori Prefecture next year, so we will implement relevant programs in order to stir up enthusiasm toward the festival. As a starter, we are planning to hold a spring-season free talk session on manga comics on February 4, with participation of such guests as Ms. Machiko Satonaka, a manga artist and chairperson of the preparatory committee of the International Manga Summit. On February 27, we are scheduled to open an animation song festival entitled Anikaru Matsuri Zero (Anikaru: animation culture).  This year, the National Rich Sea Creation Festival will be opened (in Tottori Prefecture). We will establish its central office on January 25. It’s the biggest event in the next fiscal year, and we are determined to exert our efforts with the prefectural residents and relevant parties toward its success.

Q. What significance do you see in the (possible) designation of Sakai Port (as a new recycle port) this time?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that there have been no recycle ports in the areas between Kitakyushu Port and Maizuru Port in Kyoto Prefecture along the Sea of Japan,) In other prefectures’ cases, the areas around recycle ports are beginning to see accumulation of industries for processing waste into recycled products and shipping them. In terms of not only arterial but also vein physical distributions (arterial: metaphor of commodity distribution/vein: metaphor of recycle process), I expect Sakai Port to be functionally strengthened as a gateway.

Q. Will you be specific about the amount of damages to the tourism sector due to the heavy snowfall, such as the number of cancellations accommodation facilities received?

 During the New Year’s holidays only, facilities in major hot-spring spa resorts received about 5,000 cancellations, I hear. We will try and attract tourists, and overcome the adversity.

Q. What kind of promotion do you plan to stage in “Genki-Ippai Tottori-ken Campaign,” the tourist attraction campaign against the damages caused by the snowfall, scheduled for January 24 in JR Osaka Station?

 We are planning to form a caravan with parties in the tourism sector and encourage people to travel (to our prefecture) in and around the station there. Half of all the travelers to Tottori Prefecture are from the Kansai Region, so Kansai is the largest market for us. We are eager to promote Tottori to as many people as possible.  On the same day, we will promote our agricultural products to market players and consumers. Vegetables such as green onions and broccoli which have grown under the snow are richer in sugar content and taste, and delicious. Although they are smaller than the ordinary standard size, we will engage in the campaign to promote their sales together with agricultural workers.

Q. The percentage of new college graduates who found work is extremely low nationwide and the same situation is anticipated in Tottori Prefecture. How do you plan to cope with this?

 From last December through January, we have been conducting relevant door-to-door campaigns for new (college and) high school graduates. Additional job fairs have been scheduled for February with the help of business circles and labor-related administrative institutions. In consideration of the graduates who give up finding work, we will expand our budgetary framework to provide exceptional opportunities for job training for fresh college graduates.

Q. Tottori Prefecture issued an influenza alert yesterday. Do you plan to conduct any new measures, such as the establishment of the task force against the new-type flu and so on?

 The task force has been kept in operation since last year. By sharing information and conducting monitoring, we have been encouraging prefectural residents to be on their guard. Especially now that we have entered a resurgence period of influenza, we will make promotion campaigns together with municipalities, including the encouragement of vaccination or preparation of instruction pamphlets on how to cope with possible infection.