Q. Concerning the subsidies for medical care for children, will you be specific about what portion of the expenses for the system renewal and the like the prefectural administration is planning to bear?

 It’s under calculation now. The system renewal will be conducted by each municipality in Tottori Prefecture, and the cumulative total of the costs is expected to reach about 10 million yen. On the assumption that half of the costs will be borne by the prefecture as a rough estimate, we are likely to disburse about 5 million yen.

Q. Now that Tottori Prefecture is likely to host National Arbor Day, how do you feel about it from the point of view of the prefectural administration? And will you tell us about your goals for conservation activities in the future?

 Tottori Prefecture is a prefecture of forestry, and the movements to protect forests are getting more and more popular among companies and residents alike. We will promote the blessings of forests such as the riches of the soil and fruits of the sea, our great Food Capital, and beautiful tourism resources nationwide. We will also seize the opportunity of this festival to encourage forestry operators, who are struggling with the lack of successors and managerial difficulties.

Presidential Election of Democratic Party of Japan

 This morning, Former General Secretary Ichiro Ozawa of the DPJ announced his candidacy for the DPJ presidential election. The political situation has started to change rapidly. As far as the national public is concerned, it will be a de facto election of Japan’s prime minister, so I hope that relevant parties will keep a critical mindset in the selection process.

Special Loan to Deal with Yen’s Appreciation

 There are a number of component manufacturing companies in Tottori Prefecture and prolonged appreciation of the yen is anticipated to have negative repercussions, mainly for manufacturers. So Tottori Prefecture decided to set up an emergency loan worth 2 billion yen as our own safety net, which is aimed at providing financial support to the companies in our prefecture which are facing managerial difficulties due to the strong yen. We are determined to take every possible measure immediately.

Supplementary Budget to Be Presented in September

 The supplementary budget to be presented in September is under compilation now. It’s expected to include items such as measures against the new-type flu, and should reach about 1 billion yen in total. In order to raise the age limit of the public subsidization for special medical care for children, the computer systems will need to be renewed. Instead of leaving the expenses to municipalities, which will be engaged in the actual tasks as responsible parties, the prefectural administration is planning to share a fair portion of the costs and include this item in our budget proposal.

Establishment of Greater Kansai Association

 For the purpose of discussing the establishment and details of the Greater Kansai Association, the urgent decision was made to hold a meeting tomorrow with the participation of relevant prefectures. The collaborative ties between Tottori Prefecture and the Kansai Region are getting stronger and stronger in such fields as medicine, tourism, and culture, as exemplified by the operation of doctor helicopters, which started operation recently, and the efforts for the entry of the San’in Coast into the Global Geopark Network. So I think that participation in the Greater Kansai Association could be one of our options. However, it seems unlikely for us to benefit from the participation in some areas due to the geographical conditions, so the future deliberation on our prefecture’s side will focus on the possibility of partial participation in certain areas and a means of sharing the expenses in consideration thereto.

Measures Related to Pears

 On August 30, the first auction in this season of Twentieth Century pears (a local specialty of Tottori Prefecture) will be held in Osaka. We are planning to conduct promotion campaigns for our pears in Tokyo and the Chukyo Region (in central Japan), or at the Shanghai Expo. We will do our utmost to encourage appreciation of Tottori Prefecture’s pears both at home and abroad.

Hosting of National Arbor Day

 Today Tottori Prefecture is likely to be officially selected and announced as the venue for National Arbor Day in 2013. Today we will also start selling the carbon offset credit known as J-VER. We will continue building and promoting Tottori Prefecture with its forestry and nature.

Press Conference for the Korean TV Drama

 A press conference for the Korean TV drama Athena has been set to be held in Seoul on August 30. Around September 10, the filming staff, actors, and actresses are expected to come to Tottori Prefecture and kick off the shooting. In collaboration with the tourism sector, municipalities, and the urgent project team within our prefectural administration, we are determined to make this filming a success and promote Tottori Prefecture to the world.

Q. When will the special loan to deal with the strong yen start to be provided? And how are you planning to procure the budget amounting to 2 billion yen?

 We would like to start accepting the applications as early as next week, if possible. At first, we are planning to divert the funds in existing loan projects to the needed budget. In the event that some additional funds are needed for the loan in the future, we will take flexible measures such as requesting that the prefectural assembly increase the budget. Stipulations such as the loan conditions, the maximum amount per company, and the like are under discussion now.

Q. To what extent are the businesses of Tottori Prefecture likely to be affected by the recent appreciation of the yen?

 According to the results of the questionnaire sent out to companies in Tottori Prefecture, manufacturers are likely to suffer a decline in sales by 20 to 30 percent.

Q. Regarding the closing of the general account in fiscal 2009, the remaining amount of the funds increased by 2.15 billion yen, compared with last fiscal year. Why is that?

 As one of our financial goals, we set the target amount for the remaining funds as of the end of this fiscal year at 30 billion yen, and consciously continued directing money back to the funds in order to achieve the goal. That’s the reason why, I think. As of the closing of the account for fiscal 2009, the remaining amount of the funds stood at 39.6 billion yen. I feel confident that we will be able to achieve the goal.

Q. The launching of a large fishing vessel is planned from Sakai Port to catch bluefin tuna. What’s your take on it? And how does the prefecture perceive and intend to cope with the tighter regulations on catches of bluefin tuna?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that fishery operators in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan are expressing opposition to the plan,) I think it a necessary project to form a new fleet of round haul netters in order to revitalize the fishing industry in our prefecture. We are currently making requests to Tokyo for approval of this project.  This project is often discussed in relation to tighter regulations on fish catches. The concerned parties on the side of Sakai Port [in the southern part of Tottori Prefecture] are emphasizing the conservation of fishery resources as a priority in planning this project, so I urge the relevant parties to make levelheaded judgments.

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