Damages Caused by Heavy Rain

 A severe rainstorm hit the Chugoku Region last night. Near Monomi Pass in Chizu Town (in Tottori Prefecture), parts of a prefectural road were covered by a landslide, and the road is partially closed. The clearing operation is under way now, and the road is likely to be reopened today. The weather is expected to improve around noon, I hear, but we are still on the alert.

Requests to Tokyo after Upper House Election

The Upper House election was held the other day. The massive defeat of the incumbent party in this election indicates the national public’s will to push both the ruling and the opposing camps toward sufficient discussions, that they will cater to public sentiment and consider regional situations. I hope that Tokyo will establish and reinforce a new lineup in the national government so that they can swiftly address such issues as economic measures, regional sovereignty and decentralization, which the regional side has called for. Today I’m scheduled to go to Wakayama Prefecture and attend the meeting of the National Governors’ Association to discuss the direction that local autonomies should take. The issue of local taxes is closely related to the debate on the consumption tax in the national political arena, which we will need to discuss in order to affirm our stance. Concerning the matters related to people’s livelihood, we will put requests to Tokyo regarding urgent issues such as handling of the remaining stock of vaccines for the new-type flu.    

On-Site Inspection on San’in Coast Geopark

 From August 1 through 4, two scholars will come to Japan from Britain and Greece, and they are scheduled to conduct inspections on the San’in Coast regarding its entry into the Global Geopark Network. In collaboration with relevant local autonomies, including Hyogo and Kyoto Prefectures, as well as with private sectors and residents in various capacities, we are determined to make it a success.  Today, I will call together a project team within our administration after this press conference. The intention is to exchange ideas about how to prepare ourselves for the upcoming inspection, together with representatives of each relevant region, including Tottori City and Iwami Town.  In addition, for the purpose of promoting the San’in Coast, we are planning to set up roadway signs, or install an electric bulletin board in Tottori Airport.  Besides that, a photo album recently published featuring Tottori Prefecture entitled “Shashinshu Tottori (Photo Book Tottori),” contains pictures of the San’in Coast Geopark. I strongly hope that many people will take a look at the photo collection.

Collaboration with Companies in Singapore

 A company operating ports in Singapore informed us of their intention to form a union of ports for the purpose of operating cruise ferry services in Asia. With an eye to stimulating new tourism demands, I’m looking to have Sakai Port (in Tottori Prefecture) join the union and take part in this international joint project.

Schedule, etc.

 After this press conference, I’m scheduled to go to the Kansai Region (in western Japan) and conclude an agreement between Ryukoku University and Tottori Prefecture, mainly aimed at conducting employment support measures within Tottori Prefecture. After attending the meeting of the governors’ association, I will take part in the tourism promotion campaign titled “GeGeGe’s Hometown Tottori Prefecture,” held in Kyoto Loft. Also, this weekend I will attend the ridgepole raising ceremony of the main hall of Mitokusan Sanbutsu-ji Temple.  The efforts of companies in Tottori Prefecture have started to bear fruit recently, in such areas as product and foodstuff development. I hope that the new lineup of the national government will get right to work on boosting the economic recovery from the regions.

Q. Regarding the collaboration with Singaporean companies, was the establishment of the union initiated by the Singaporean side and offered to Tottori Prefecture?

 That’s right. It was initiated by a port operating company in Singapore. But the governmental authorities there are supportive, and their diplomatic sectors have asked Tottori Prefecture to collaborate with this initiative.  According to this idea, the cruise ship will take a route including Japan, South Korea, China, and the Philippines, the union will plan tours, and we will jointly market them to travel companies and the like.

Q. In relation to joining the union, how much of the cost will be borne by Tottori Prefecture, and what concrete advantages can be expected from joining it?

 The budgetary burden we need to shoulder will mostly consist of clerical costs only, which I don’t expect to exceed 2 million yen.  The advantages will naturally depend on how the tours will be planned. If the actual flow of travelers starts, however, we expect that the annual number of cruise ferries for foreign tourists accommodated in Sakai Port will increase from the current level by one or two orders of magnitude, which will create huge economic effects.

Q. The old Amarube Bridge will close after some 100 years of history on July 16. How do you feel about it, and what do you expect from the new replacement bridge?

 As for the Amarube Bridge, a train fell from the bridge in December, 1986, which was an extremely sad accident. Since it’s a chokepoint in the railway network, it has to be improved. On the other hand, the landscape is very beautiful there, so it’s a very attractive tourism resource which would stimulate people’s imagination.  The replacement of the Amarube Bridge should be regarded as a sign of the times, I think. I strongly hope that Japan Railways will enhance convenience of their railway services now that the services are guaranteed to remain punctual there.  Parts of the old bridge will be preserved in order to maintain its charm as a tourism resource, which is welcoming news. The Amarube Bridge is located within the San’in Coast area, which we are aiming to have registered in the Global Geopark Network. So we hope and expect it will provide an effective spark to attract tourists.

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