Voting in the Upper House Election

This weekend will see the 22nd regular Upper House election. This is a crucial election that will set the direction of Japan’s immediate future, and I have high hopes that the voters will consider all the issues carefully before casting their ballots.

Tax System and National Governors’ Association

 One of the pressing issues in the current election is how to go about managing Japan’s financial affairs. During my official trip to Tokyo yesterday, in preparation for the July 15 and 16 meeting of the National Governors’ Association, I exchanged ideas with several of the other prefectural governors, especially on the issue of taxes.  While the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the opposing Liberal Democratic Party each raise the issue of the consumption tax in their campaigns, I suggested that the National Governors’ Association should also clearly express our opinions on local finance and tax system reform.

Results of Visit to Russia

 Last weekend, I attended the Pacific Economic Conference in Vladivostok, Russia, and promoted our local attractions as well as the transportation network using DBS Cruise Ferry. I also stressed how important it will be for Asia and Russia to be connected and work together in the coming years. In the venue, I was greeted with agreement and support from a number of parties involved.  On the day before the conference, we invited about 30 business operators in the tourism sector to talk about the appeal of Tottori Prefecture and our prefectural measures for the promotion of tourism.  In addition, I visited Arsen'ev Museum, a national institution in Primorsky Krai and had a talk with Director Sokolov. He voiced a strong proposal to put together a sort of sister-museum agreement between theirs and Tottori Prefectural Museum, which got us started on preparations toward that end.  In addition, I met and talked with Director Zubritsky of the Far East branch of the “Russian Peace Fund,” an institution engaged in worldwide projects such as donating academic books to universities, establishing offices to shed light on Russian affairs, and others. He expressed their hope to open their office in Tottori Prefecture and proceed with their book donation projects, and we are planning to provide them with assistance to meet that goal.

Meeting with Regional Chief of Russian Ministry for Industry and Trade

 Mr. Oleg Lipaev paid a visit to Japan. He’s in charge of economic issues in Primorsky Krai as the regional representative of the Ministry for Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation. He is profoundly interested in our Japan-Sea-Rim projects, and it’s likely that we’ll be able to discuss economic exchange in the future.  Russian youth will also take DBS Cruise Ferry and visit Tottori Prefecture, and participate in a summer camp program for environmental awareness held in various places throughout Tottori Prefecture, such as “Furusato Nichinan Mura (Hometown Nichinan Village).” We have a variety of programs in the works for them to learn and experience the beauty of the environment and the importance of eco-friendly activities.

Visit of Korean TV Drama Production Company to Tottori

 From July 4 through 6, President Chung Taewon and other staff members of the production company came to Tottori Prefecture in preparation for the filming of the Korean TV drama Athena. We showed them around tourist spots such as the Tottori Sand Dune, and offered them an opportunity to try our local gourmet food, Gyukotsu Ramen [ramen noodles featuring a beef bone broth] in central Tottori. I believe that they learned and enjoyed something of Tottori Prefecture’s customs and manners.  Since Tottori Sand Dune is a national park, we need to obtain permission from national authorities in order to conduct locations there. We will exert our best efforts as the support committee and work on obtaining the necessary approval. 

Circumstance Surrounding DBS Cruise Ferry

 On July 9, 56 candidates for the Miss Korea contest will come from South Korea to Sakaiminato City via DBS Cruise Ferry as part of the contest camp. We will seize this opportunity and promote Tottori Prefecture’s tourist spots and other attractions.  Regarding trades, it’s been decided that bell peppers will be transported as a new item for ship cargo imported from South Korea. Melons and watermelons have also been conclusively arranged for export, and they will be shipped to Russia on July 11.  In addition, Russia’s side proposed to us that we should explore the possibility of using DBS Cruise Ferry for postal services. The administration of Tottori Prefecture has put our proposals for the idea to Japan Post Service Co., Ltd and Japan Post Holdings Co., Ltd.

Opening of Beaches in Tottori Prefecture

 Starting today, the beaches in Tottori Prefecture will be open for the season. I strongly hope that the people from outside Tottori will enjoy nature in Tottori Prefecture to the fullest.

Q. How likely is the postal service between Japan and Russia (via Tottori) to be realized?

 The postal service operators will make relevant judgments in consideration of profitability and speed of delivery. Since irregular ship services are currently used for the postal services, I think that our regular ship service will have certain advantages, but matters such as shipment or customs clearing will be taken into consideration in the decision. Vladivostok’s side is enthusiastic about this issue. Mr. Lipaev, the regional representative in Primorsky Krai for the Ministry for Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, is apparently in the midst of proposals to Russia Post. It’s not yet clear how likely it is to be realized, though.

Q. To what extent are academic exchanges with Russia progressing?

 (After the reporter’s referring to the sister-museum exchange agreement and opening of Russian Peace Fund’s office in Tottori,) We’re about to start discussions about the fields of our joint projects, the means to conduct exchanges between the curators of the museums, and so on. We are willing to dispatch our delegation from Tottori to Russia as early as this autumn. Russia’s side seems eager to seize the visit and conclude the agreement if possible.  With regard to the Russian Peace Fund, I hear that the Far East branch director, Mr. Zubritsky made the suggestion to their headquarters in Moscow and obtained approval to open their office in Tottori Prefecture. Contribution of Russian academic books to universities is one of the main projects of the Russian Peace fund. The plans to use the office for that purpose and organize displays for more effective promotion are under discussion now. The candidate site for the office is not limited to Sakaiminato City—I hear that they are conducting quite a number of projects in cooperation with universities, so the potential for such collaboration will be taken into account in the selection.  Moreover, Vladivostok State University of Economics and Service and Tottori University are moving toward commencement of personnel exchanges including dispatches of teachers, and Tottori University of Environmental Studies is planning to launch a new study course dealing with the theme of international and economic exchanges with Primorsky Krai

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