Earthquake in Qinghai Province, China

 A big earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 hit Qinghai Province in China, and we’re gaining an understanding of the situation little by little. I would like to offer my sincerest prayer for the victims and hope for the survivors. We are ready to respond to calls for international aid should they come, but we will start with deliberations on collecting donations.

Special Committee on Government Commitment Evaluation of NGA

 Yesterday I went to Tokyo for matters related to the National Governors’ Association and attended a discussion with the focus on the manifestos for the Upper House election, joined by the members of the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party. In particular, the discussions we raised were mostly centered on local finance issues represented by the local allocation tax, and the answers of both the DPJ and LDP members were directed toward the incorporation of regional sovereignty and decentralization in their manifestos. I strongly urge them to make good on their promises.  We demanded that the DPJ not wield the lump-sum subsidy as if it were a lucky hammer, and the LDP’s side expressed their intention to rebuild relations between the national and regional governments.  I hope and expect that the upcoming Lower House election will encourage discussions toward the establishment of decentralization and regional sovereignty.

Efforts toward Entry into Global Geopark Network

 In relation to our bid for the entry of the San’in Coast into the Global Geopark Network, it’s been decided that the investigation team will visit Tottori and conduct an on-site inspection for a period of three days from August 1 through 3. We are determined to do what we can for the entry. On April 24, we are planning to hold a rally with the participation of volunteer guides and scholars. The San’in Kaigan Nature Museum, which is a facility to exhibit materials and provide guidance, will be reopened on the same day. The opening events are scheduled to be held in the near future.

Meeting of Next-Generation Reform Promotion Head Office

 A new fiscal year has started, and we will further strengthen our organizational and administrative structures. The Next-Generation Reform Promotion Head Office also needs to be renewed. In its office meeting scheduled for next week, we are planning to set up project teams joined by young staff members and organized in a cross-sectoral manner. The entry into the Global Geopark Network is a matter of great urgency, so we’re looking at launching an “Urgent Project Team” for next summer. Besides, in consideration of the establishment of an electric car plant, it’s necessary to implement cross-sectoral measures at the level of regions on such issues as environment and town development. With regard to the green decentralization reform, the organization of an urgent project team is also in the works. For the time being, two urgent project teams are set for establishment, one for the Geopark issue toward summer, and the other for the green decentralization reform.

Campaigns outside Tottori before Golden Week holidays

 With the Golden Week holidays around the corner, it’s necessary to strengthen our measures to send out information beyond Tottori Prefecture. We are planning to hold the promotion campaigns “Haru no Furusato Fair (Spring Hometown Fair)” in Nagoya City in central Japan and “Ge Ge Ge no Tottori-ken (Ge Ge Ge’s Tottori Prefecture)” in Osaka. I’m also scheduled to visit the Kansai Region in order to attend delivery talks as a lecturer on demand.

Q. Regarding the measures for the entry into Global Geopark Network, is everything ready, including the organization? And why is another urgent project team necessary? Also, is it likely that the staff of Iwami Town and Tottori City will join the team?

 After the reporter’s mentioning that a division in charge of the Geopark issue has been established within the prefectural administration in this fiscal year, It’s true that we established a new division in charge of the Geopark issue within the Culture and Tourism Bureau. However, it’s also necessary for us, the prefectural administration, to conduct such cross-sectorial measures as providing children with information, or traffic policies. For the purpose of preparing for the inspection toward the entry into Geopark Network, it’s crucial to strengthen our organizational lineup in an urgent manner.  We will make deliberation on whether it’s possible to have the staff members of Iwami Town and Tottori City join the urgent project team.  As for project teams, we will set up one for wide-range cooperation, for example. We are also planning to organize another project team for cooperation with Tajima Area, Okayama and Shimane Prefectures, and the Kansai Region.  In relation to wide-range cooperation, the matters regarding Lake Nakaumi are a major issue. On April 22, Governor Mizoguchi of Shimane Prefecture and I are scheduled to co-chair the first Lake Nakaumi conference with the participation of four cities and one town surrounding Lake Nakaumi, the Chugoku Regional Development Bureau of the MLIT, and the Chugoku-Shikoku Regional Agricultural Administration Office of the MAFF.

Q. Regarding the pinewood nematode control project, will you be specific about your conclusion on whether the prefecture will lift the freeze on the related subsidies or not?

 We are planning to reach a final conclusion in the conference attended by relevant municipalities and Tottori Prefecture and scheduled for next Monday. We are discussing the possibilities of adopting the general competitive bidding for aerial spraying and the restricted general competitive bidding with the participation of local companies in Tottori Prefecture for the works which require arrangements or measures at the local level.  If the framework is based on the general competitive bidding, we are ready to implement the prefectural subsidies.

Q. Some municipalities expressed the opposite opinion that the designated competitive bidding is necessary. Do you mean that the prefectural administration is ready to compromise?

 After the reporter’s mentioning that the municipalities insisted on the need of the designated competitive bidding for the support of related businesses in relevant municipalities or the prefecture, The Local Autonomy Act approves single tendering for small projects in budgetary terms. In this regard, it’s possible to approve some of their opinions on an exceptional basis. In principle, however, we will demand that the general competitive bidding be adopted.

Q. Governor Hashimoto of Osaka Prefecture expressed his intention to transfer to municipalities the prefectural power to shuffle teaching personnel of public elementary and secondary schools. What’s your take on it?

 There are pros and cons, but I think that it is time now to rethink the system of the board of education.  The prefectures have the power to shuffle the teaching staff and pay them salaries, but the employed teachers work at elementary or secondary schools under the command of the municipal board of education. This structure is very awkward, and impossible in ordinary corporation management.  On the other hand, the difficult point is the fear that no teachers might be willing to be assigned to some areas, as in the case of villages with no doctors. It might be necessary to have a system to assign teachers on a wide-range scale to a certain degree.  I partially agree with Osaka Prefectural Governor Hashimoto on his problem consciousness, but we need to discuss and determine whether the system he proposes is applicable as it is to those regions containing a lot of hilly and mountainous areas.

Q. Regarding the continuation of the Yonago-Nagoya flight service, you met the president of ANA last week. Can you be specific about his reaction?

 The relevant parties of the Chukyo and San’in Regions made a joint request to the president of ANA, and I’m sure that he understood our earnest hope. However, the biggest issue is whether it’s possible to reach an agreement in terms of business matters, which I’m sure ANA’s side will earnestly deliberate.  With the expectation that there will be room for negotiations on various points, we are still continuing clerical negotiations, but the prospects are not yet clear. Last-minute negotiations are taking place under severe circumstances at present.

Q. When does he intend to make a final decision? And in what aspects do you think there is room for compromises or negotiations as the prefectural administration?

 The stipulation of the Civil Aeronautics Act requires that the decision be announced six months before it’s implemented. The deadline is the end of April, according to what he said.  We can offer such support measures as campaigns to encourage use of the flight service, for example, or subsidies for landing fees of small airplanes, in particular. As for other possibilities, I don’t think I can talk about them before we start negotiations.

Q. Do you have any concrete ideas or plans in mind, in order to reform the system of the board of education?

 As we are bound by legislation, there is little room for a region’s side to exercise ingenuity. I think all we can do is make requests or proposals for modifications to the system.

Q. What’s your impression of the recent mayoral election of Tottori City?

 The Tottori City administration is facing a crucial moment now. The new expressway has been opened all the way to Tottori Interchange, and the industrial structure is beginning to change. Amid such a situation, the austere employment condition is affecting citizens’ livelihood, and attention is rapidly starting to focus on new subjects as policy challenges, including education for human resource development. I firmly hope that the city administration will open up their future under the leadership of the new mayor, and I’m eager to exchange opinions about policy challenges with the new mayor.

Q. What’s your take on the new political parties springing up around the nation? And did you receive any invitations or requests to join such initiatives?

 Under the system of democracy, it is in the interest of the national public for politicians to enthusiastically announce their ideas, policies, characters, insights and the like, and compete with each other.  A kind of federations of governors are also among the new political parties, but I don’t intend to join a party of that sort. First and foremost, I believe that I’m in the position to exert my best efforts in order to support the livelihood of the prefectural residents and our regional development.

Copyright(C) 2006~ 鳥取県(Tottori Prefectural Government) All Rights Reserved. 法人番号 7000020310000