Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster (Tohoku Earthquake)

 Yesterday our prefecture’s radioactivity measuring car equipped with the whole body counter arrived at the Fukushima prefectural government office. It will be mobilized until the end of September within Fukushima Prefecture. In addition, Yumeshokken and Kirara Onagawa, a corporation and a designated nonprofit organization for the disabled, which were engaged in production of karin-to [fried dough cookies] in Miyagi Prefecture, decided to reestablish themselves in Hoki Town in Tottori Prefecture, and the ceremony to mark the opening of their facilities will be held tomorrow. For the ceremony, the disabled people who were working for the corporations in Miyagi Prefecture (in Tohoku Region) at the time (of the earthquake) will visit Tottori Prefecture for about a week. During the week, they will have an opportunity to stay in a hotel in Kaike Onsen Spa (in western Tottori Prefecture) for a day and heal their fatigue. We must steer Japan toward recovery and reconstruction from the recent disaster.

After Prefectural Assembly’s June Session Closed

 The prefectural assembly’s June session was closed last week. We had debates on disaster countermeasures, future prefectural administration, and the development of our future. Immediately, as a first step in planning for the future, we will begin to accept applications on June 30 for the appointment of resident members of the committee which will study the basic ordinance for prefectural residents' participation (in prefectural policymaking).
 With regard to the measures for nuclear safety, we will launch the Tottori prefectural conference for disaster prevention system [as tentatively translated] on July 5, aimed at promoting dialogues between the Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc. and Tottori Prefecture. We are ready to discuss the framework toward nuclear safety in the coming days and in the following years. As a foundation thereof, we will seek to conclude a nuclear safety agreement. Moreover, in order to respond to new issues such as measures to defend against tsunami, Tottori Prefecture will launch the Risk Management Bureau [as tentatively translated] on July 1. In order to provide the prefectural citizens with accurate information at appropriate junctures, we will set the telephone number for disaster information service at 0857-26-8100 and prepare ourselves for any type of inquiries. Furthermore, In consideration of nuclear safety, we will assign expert staff members to our Risk Management Bureau, so we will announce and start recruiting these staff members nationwide.
 In relation to industrial issues, I will have a dialogue with SANYO Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd’s President, Mr. Sano, and make a request to him for assurance and maintenance of employment as well as continuation of the production and development of their main products in Tottori Prefecture. I will also seek for the relevant responses within Panasonic Group through the dialogue with Mr. Sano.
 In response to the Tohoku Earthquake, the trend toward risk dispersion has commenced (in Japan). We will try and provide a basis of accommodation for companies’ initiatives to transfer their business bases from the eastern to the western regions of Japan, or from urban to rural areas.
 With respect to environmental issues, various types of development are needed. In the prefectural assembly’s June session, we discussed the strategies related to Mega Solar power generation or small hydroelectric (generation), which we have been promoting and which we will actively develop.

Events in Weekend

 We will launch a partnership tie with Hiroshima Prefecture from July 1 in relation to welfare, under which the Heartful Parking Lots [reserved parking space for the disabled, the elderly with difficulty in walking, injured people or pregnant women who have temporary trouble in walking, etc.] will be available in both Hiroshima and Tottori Prefectures to the relevant users certified by either of the two prefectures. In addition, a tuna carnival will be held for the first time in Samaiminato City [in western Tottori Prefecture] this weekend. This event has been launched for a branding strategy of Sakaiminato as a landing port for tuna. In this event, the cleaning of tuna fish will be demonstrated and tuna dishes will be served. I hope and expect that this event will enjoy a good turnout of visitors from within and out of Tottori Prefecture.

Q. The said ordinance for prefectural residents’ participation drew lots of attention as a discussion topic in the last prefectural assembly session. How do you plan to develop this ordinance?

 We will seek for not only the expertise but also the participation of a wide range of prefectural residents in the discussion in order to finalize the ordinance. It may take one or two years, but we will keep at the debates. Instead of making top-down decisions, it’s necessary to reveal important issues from among a wide range of prefectural citizens. We will provide the prefectural assembly from time to time with the information on the development of related discussions and deliberations while trying to draw up the final version.

Q. What sort of vision do you have for the safety agreement with Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc.?

 Its details will soon be under deliberation, but the one concluded by (and between Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc and) Shimane Prefecture will be considered as a starting point. There are differences, however, between a prefecture where a nuclear power plant is actually located and its adjacent prefecture. We will need to discuss the degree to which the agreements will include the same terms and conditions. But the bottom line is whether the prefectural or municipal administrations will be able to secure the bases for the realization of the safety and security of their residents. Although I imagine that the hurdles are extremely difficult to get over, from the standpoint of our residents, I will engage myself in the negotiations with Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc on behalf of our citizens.

Q.Upper House Member Kazuyuki Hamada of Tottori Prefecture assumed the post of a Vice Minister. What do you think of this opposition camp lawmaker’s action from an ethical point of view?

 Upper House Member Hamada has become a new Vice Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and he will be engaged in the recovery tasks from the said recent disaster. He must have made the decision, thinking as if he pulled the chestnuts out of the fire. Now that he has made up his mind to do so, I strongly hope that he will believe in his decision and do his utmost for the disaster-hit areas. However, from the viewpoint of the prefectural residents’ sentiment, the development is extremely difficult to comprehend. It’s his natural duty to fulfill his accountability to the prefectural voters by himself.

Q. Japan is going through tough times right now. What do you think is needed for the current Japan to stand up again?

 [After the junior high student reporter’s mentioning the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster, meltdown of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, and the leakage of radioactively contaminated water into the sea,] The national administration needs to be corrected first. It’s also necessary to change the places and methods of power generation, through what we call “the energy shift,” such as promotion of the wind-power generation or solar energy generation. In relation to the disaster-related and disaster prevention measures, we will also have to prepare ourselves against earthquakes or tsunami on a routine basis, assuming that these disasters can happen. I also believe it’s necessary to cultivate the political ground in the current Japan where every citizen can participate and decisions can be made quickly.