GeGeGe’s Tottori Prefectural Support Squad for Recovery from Recent Disaster

 Since the occurrence of the Great East Japan Earthquake (Tohoku Earthquake), Tottori Prefecture has taken the lead in conducting all-out support measures. With the participation of parties concerned with the Kotoura Town Gourmet Street Project and yokai characters of Sakaiminato City, it’s been decided that we will form the GeGeGe’s Tottori Prefectural Support Squad and visit Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture on June 3 and 4 in order to mingle with the children and hold soup rallies there. We strongly hope to cheer up the victims of the said disaster.

Requests to Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc on Safety Measures of Shimane NPP

 Arrangements have been finalized in order for us to make requests to Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc. President Yamashita for the first time on May 27. We will seize this opportunity and frankly convey to Mr. Yamashita our anxiety as an adjacent prefecture to Shimane Prefecture, where a nuclear power plant is situated. We will also urge the electric power company to take further steps for nuclear safety, by such measures as concluding agreements with Tottori Prefecture, or local cities (close to Shimane) in Tottori Prefecture, including Yonago and Sakaiminato Cities.

Start of COOL BIZ within Prefectural Administration

 Next week, we will launch a new-type COOL BIZ campaign [COOL BIZ: a seasonal campaign encouraging light clothing in order to combat global warming] entitled “Heart Hot COOL BIZ.” We will make this campaign friendly to people, hot for the regions, and cool in terms of energy. We will further encourage lighter clothing than previous campaigns of this sort. For example, we will allow the prefectural staff to wear T-shirts with logos of Kitaro (a popular manga character in Japan), clothing which will publicize and promote the National Rich Sea Creation Festival, or clothes made from local products such as Yumigahama-kasuri [kasuri: cloth with a splashed pattern], Kurayoshi-kasuri, or “Chizu Blue [a kind of indigo dyeing products].” We will try and exercise our ingenuity in order to send information in such a manner as never done before. The departments or divisions recognized to have given a tremendous boost to the campaign will be awarded with the Heart Hot COOL BIZ grand prix within the prefectural administration.

Supplementary Budget to be Proposed in June, etc.

 We have compiled the supplementary budget to be presented in June amounting to 11.095 billion yen in total. Combined with the initial budget and the additional disposal arbitrary decisions, the total budgetary amount will reach 333.3 billion yen. From the said amount, about 300 million yen will be allocated to measures related to the Great East Japan Earthquake. And 200 million yen will be allocated to recovery work from the agricultural damages or the damages on public facilities due to the heavy rainfall disaster which hit Tottori Prefecture. In addition, I made the proposal toward the future creation during the election (the last gubernatorial election) concerning 5 agendas: prefectural administration on a partnership basis, cultivation of the future of industries and job creation, assurance of safety and security in livelihoods, establishment of Tottori Prefecture with Human Assets, and Restoration of Tottori’s pride. In consideration of the said 5 agendas, we have compiled the fleshed-out budget. Furthermore, we are planning to launch a project to create 10,000 jobs within our prefecture.

Handling of Issue of Raw Meat in Tottori Prefecture

 The issue of raw meat (which has caused food poisoning and led to the deaths of dozens of people) has become an extremely serious problem recently. The working-level personnel are on the verge of plunging into utter chaos. The national government’s interpretation (of related regulations, guidelines, etc) is not clear enough. We are responsible for administration of healthcare centers, actual provision of related guidance, and establishment of regulations. And, above all, the safety and security of our prefectural citizens is what we need to prioritize. That’s why we are planning to set up our own investigation committee for safety and security of raw meat. It’s necessary for us, the prefectural administration, to draw up our guidelines on “the measures which will ensure safety and security.” If establishment of the national regulations is likely to be delayed to an excessive degree, we may need to revise our related ordinances on an independent basis. It might be an idea to create our own unique system such as a cook’s license for raw meat, as in the case of the cook’s license for blowfish

Events Over the Weekend

For the purpose of attracting foreign tourists, we are preparing to invite media from Taiwan and South Korea, and reintroduce Tottori Prefecture. In relation thereto, we are planning to participate in “the 2011 Hana Tour Travel Exhibition” in Seoul, South Korea from May 20, or conduct a briefing session aimed at providing the information to the local businesses in Seoul there. In addition, several events including “SEA TO SUMMIT” will be held in Tottori Prefecture this weekend. I strongly hope and expect that Tottori Prefecture will be full of people again.

Q. Regarding the NPP, there are various differences (in status etc) between Shimane Prefecture, where a NPP is located, and Tottori Prefecture as an adjacent area. And I believe that our prefectural residents want the differences to be eliminated…

 As for the time lag in terms of provision of information, we have made requests to and negotiated with the Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc so far. One of our focuses in our requests has been the acceptance of our prefectural staff into the off-site centers (the emergency operation centers against urgent situations), which function as the headquarters in case of an accident. We have placed demands regarding this issue repeatedly, but they have not come to fruition. We are determined to engage ourselves in the negotiations with our utmost efforts in order to achieve the safety and security of our prefectural citizens. On this occasion, we will first convey our requests (to the Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc). And from now on, we will engage in discussions and negotiations in order to upgrade Tottori Prefecture’s status, although on a gradual basis, possibly.

Q. Regarding the basic ordinance for prefectural residents’ participation (in prefectural policymaking), which you promised in your manifesto and proposed in the June supplementary budget, will you be specific about your idea for it?

 Since it’s a matter of discussion on how the prefectural administration should be formed as a tool for the prefectural residents, we will seek for opinions from various parties as well as expert knowledge before finalizing the framework. However, it would be necessary to have a system like the referendum which is available when the prefectural residents’ judgment is strongly called for by the public sentiment, or when the confrontation between the head of the executive power and the assembly needs to be resolved. I’m eager to draw up a basic ordinance which will reflect the prefectural residents’ will in various manners and help manage the prefectural administration together with various prefectural bodies and individuals as our collaborators.

Q. DBS Cruise Ferry has extended its ship service route to Tsuruga [a city in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan] on a trial basis. Did you receive any reports on its results or impacts?

 Although the trial ship service to Tsuruga has commenced, I haven’t received any reports on any results from DBS’s side. I hear, however, that the mayor of Tonghae City of South Korea, Tsuruga City mayor, and other relevant parties held talks on their side. Since no cargo was actually shipped and the service was extremely partial, I take it coolly that the ship service route will not be extended to Tsuruga City immediately on a permanent basis under the current circumstances.