FIFA World Cup Soccer

 Regarding the 2010 FIFA World Cup, I would like to extend my respect to Japan’s national team, who have made a fine record contrary to the public’s expectations. All of Tottori Prefecture should stand beside Gainare Tottori now as we make our way together toward their crowning victory in the Japan Football League.

Total Fertility Rate

 Tottori Prefecture’s total fertility rate stood at 1.46 last year. The figure is better than before, but far from satisfactory. We need to provide every possible service in the regions to realize the so-called “Childrearing Kingdom Tottori Prefecture.” With an eye to the administrative council scheduled for this summer with the participation of local municipal mayors, we will speed up the establishment of a framework for free medical care for children.

Visit to Russia

 Tomorrow I will travel to Russia and give a keynote speech on behalf of Tottori Prefecture in the Pacific Economic Conference to be held in Vladivostok. I’m also scheduled to participate in an international trade fair entitled “VLADEXPO,” where Tottori’s curry, craft products, and tourism exhibitions will be displayed.

Transportation Sector Meeting of Greater Tumen Initiative

 Last weekend, the transportation sector meeting of GTI (Greater Tumen Initiative) was held in Pusan, South Korea, where it was decided that the regular ship service connecting Sakaiminato City in Tottori Prefecture, Tonghae in South Korea and Vladivostok will be included as a target for GTI projects.  I think we should also make use of this opportunity to promote the Japan Sea Rim exchange and the Northeast Asia Gateway plan.

Hosting of Korean TV Drama

 We have a support committee in the works for the hosting of the upcoming Korean TV drama. In addition, Production Company President Chung Taewon will visit Tottori Prefecture on our invitation, along with other producers and screenwriters. We’re working on the details for giving them a tour of the eastern, central, and western parts of our prefecture.

Measures against Foot-and-Mouth Disease

 We are concerned about the possibility of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Tottori Prefecture. In order to reduce the risk, we have decided to keep 3 stud bulls and 20 cows in several separate facilities within Tottori City from tomorrow for a while.  In Miyazaki Prefecture [in southern Japan], destruction of infected cattle has made it difficult to procure compost, which is expected to have a negative effect on organic vegetable production there. One of the support measures we’re currently working on is creating a cooperative structure to compost seaweed in Tottori and send it to Miyazaki.

Creation of Kyosei-no-Sato [Shared Village]

Starting on July 6, a new project for agriculture and forestry called the “Kyosei-no-Sato [shared village]” program will make fallow farmland in hilly and mountainous areas available for exchange activities with urban residents, such as hands-on farming experiences.

The Prefecture’s “Light Down for Cool Earth Day”

 On July 7, which falls on Tanabata Day, we will hold the “Light Down for Cool Earth” campaign all across the prefecture. We are planning to organize a number of programs for the prefectural government building, such as using the lights in the windows to form the characters “七夕 [Tanabata],” using LED lights to create a replica of the Milky Way, and a test-ride of the electric car.

Dismissal of Tottori Hometown Ambassador

 The sumo wrestler, Kotomitsuki, to whom we have been sending hearty cheers from the local side, was unfortunately caught up in a scandal about betting on baseball games. Kotomitsuki’ side has offered his resignation from his entrusted position as “Tottori Hometown Ambassador,” and we have acquiesced in completing the dismissal procedure.  I hope that the relevant parties will take this incident as inspiration to clean up the sumo world and help shape up the sports world in general.

Q. The increase in the consumption tax rate is a major issue in the current Upper House election. What’s your opinion on the issue?

 Considering that national and local finance systems are facing a risk of economic collapse, the increase of the consumption tax rate is a necessary fundamental reform. Of course, it will take a great deal of administrative reform and public understanding to make it possible. While taking the results of the election into account, this issue will certainly have to be debated in the national arena before we reach the solution.

Q. What do you personally think is the major issue in this election?

 I’d say it’s restoring the livelihood of the national public. In terms of the economy and job creation, it’s a very harsh situation. I think that the public are mostly looking at what measures for economic growth and employment will be available.  From the viewpoint of a local autonomy, I would appreciate it if regional sovereignty, or some concrete steps to implementing decentralization, is taken up as a policy issue in the election campaign in order to secure the measures which will vitalize Japan from the regional side.

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