Damages Caused by Heavy Rain

 Last weekend disasters caused by heavy rain were reported all across Japan. In Tottori Prefecture, most of the damages occurred in Nichinan Town. I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to those who suffered the damages. Immediately after the disaster, I went to the afflicted area and discussed the restorative measures with Nichinan Town’s mayor, and we came to an agreement on appropriate actions for swift recovery. We plan to submit a detailed report on the disaster to the national government as early as next week, and commence concrete countermeasures. We also intend to comply with Nichinan Town’s request for dispatch of technical staff. We already sent five of our staff members, including clerical personnel, to the disaster site late last week.  Today we are planning to convoke the Tottori Prefecture Disaster Prevention Council. In specific terms, we are going to discuss such matters as the measures for those who need support in evacuation in case of a disaster, utilization of the medical helicopters, disaster reduction goals in the event of an earthquake, and preparation of the action plan, with an eye to revising the Tottori Prefecture Regional Disaster Prevention Plan.  In response to the rainstorm disaster reported this time, we will promptly inspect steep slope areas and ascertain whether there is any danger of rock falls and the like there, and check how the sediment disaster alert information sent out this time was utilized at the disaster sites, in order to prepare ourselves for the disasters in the future.

Former North Korean Agent’s Visit to Japan

 A former death row inmate, Ms. Kim Hyun-Hee, has visited Japan. I hope and expect that she will provide some concrete information which will be helpful in planning out future measures regarding the issue of abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea. In order to remedy the current situation as soon as possible, I urge the national government to exert their utmost efforts.

Commemorative Event for the New Name, “Yonago Kitaro Airport”

 Yonago Airport [located in western part of Tottori Prefecture] was renamed “Yonago Kitaro Airport,” in the world’s first case of the inclusion of the name of a “yokai [specter]” in the name of an airport. On July 24, a commemorative ceremony is planned for the new name, with the presence of Mr. Shigeru Mizuki [the manga artist who created the character “Kitaro”] and his wife. On the sidelines, we are planning to present Mr. Mizuki with the title of an Honorary Citizen of Tottori Prefecture. Mr. Mizuki has contributed to the world through manga art, and is a hero of our hometown. The mutual support between him and his wife, and their success after enduring hardships, have given courage and hope to vast numbers of Japanese. We are preparing to install some humorous displays to show Kitaro’s family here and there in the airport. I hope and expect that Yonago Kitaro Airport will be familiar to a lot of tourists and business people.

BeSeTo Theater Festival

 BeSeTo Theater Festival will be held in Tottori City on July 24 and 25. This is a festival with a variety of programs featuring joint appearances of (actors and actresses from) China, South Korea, and Japan. I hope it will be visited and enjoyed by as many people as possible. Traditionally, this festival was held only in Tokyo, Beijing, or Seoul. Tottori Prefecture has been chosen as its venue this time, which I believe is thanks to BIRD Theater Company, who have been devoted to theater work in Tottori Prefecture, and our regional power which supported and promoted their activities.

Volunteer Weeding Activity at the Tottori Sand Dune

On every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from July 23 till September 5, a volunteer activity will be conducted to eradicate weeds at the Tottori Sand Dune. As many as 3,700 people took part in this activity last year, and recently, tourists have started to participate. Participation in environmental activities is becoming a tourist attraction in its own right. I strongly hope that every participant will join hands and work up a nice sweat in the weeding.

Q. Regarding Mr. Shigeru Mizuki’s nomination to the Honorary Citizen of Tottori Prefecture, what achievements of his were taken into consideration for it?

 Firstly, he has done a great deal for the acceptance of manga into society after it was harshly criticized and treated by the public, and he helped raise it into a field of pop culture that is a source of Japan’s national pride in the world. Through these efforts, he has contributed to culture and art activities not only in Japan but also in the global arena.  Secondly, Mr. Mizuki has provided our prefecture with enormous support and cooperation for promotion of “Manga Kingdom Tottori.”  Lastly, the TV drama, GeGeGe no Nyobo [GeGeGe’s wife] depicts how he and his wife have supported each other, overcome hardships and built their success, which is giving courage and hope to a lot people in the prefecture and the country at large.

Q. Is there anyone else who has been given the title of honorary citizen?

Former Governor Kim Jinsun of Gangwon Province in South Korea is the only person who’s been given the title before him. Mr. Kim has contributed to the operation of DBS Cruise Ferry.

Q. Will you be specific about the details of the inspection of the hazardous areas of sediment disasters and the like?

 In the recent case of Matsue City in Shimane Prefecture [next to Tottori Prefecture], a serious landslide occurred after the rain stopped, even with a protective barrier in place. In order to confirm whether there are similar hazardous areas in Tottori Prefecture, we will use the hazard map and inspect the relevant areas.

Q. In order to prevent water accidents during the summer vacation, do you plan to urge the board of education and school sector to be on the alert?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that a local high school student got involved in a water accident in Hiezu Town, Tottori Prefecture, the previous day,) Firstly, I hope that each household will take due precautions. With regard to urging the school sector to be on the alert, I intend to consult with the board of education. In consideration of each region’s peculiar conditions, such as frequent offshore currents, I hope that children will recognize the danger while enjoying physical activities to the fullest and engaging in typical summer vacation activities.

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