Prefectural Assembly’s September Session

 Tottori prefectural assembly’s September session will finally open next week. We are planning to discuss the supplementary budget equivalent to 1.056 billion yen, our participation in the Greater Kansai Association, nationalization of Tottori University of Environmental Studies and other matters. In relation to the current appreciation of the yen, we are also closely monitoring when to implement our prefecture’s independent economy and employment measures. As necessary, we will consider making relevant proposals to the upcoming assembly session.

Administrative System of Tottori Prefecture

 Recently, as a result of the survey conducted by the Japan Citizen's Ombudsman Association, Tottori Prefecture has been acknowledged to have the most transparent administrative system of any prefecture, and ranked as the No.1 prefecture, especially in terms of the budget compilation process. Starting from the middle of next month, we are planning to conduct a project inventory, or Tottori Prefecture’s budget screening, so to speak, with the participation of private sectors. We will continue to operate a highly transparent prefectural administration.

Damages Caused by Typhoon No. 9

 The season’s 9th typhoon has passed through the Japanese Archipelago and major damages have been reported mainly in eastern Japan. Fortunately, Tottori Prefecture has suffered limited damages, but we will make sure that the recovery work will be adequately implemented.

Forum to Mark 10th Year since Earthquake in Western Tottori Prefecture

 Just 10 years have passed this year since the occurrence of the Earthquake in Western Tottori Prefecture on October 6, 2000. It was fortunate that there were no fatalities in the earthquake, but considerable after-effects remain in the affected areas and we have been engaged in the restoration work.  In order to recap our 10 years of experience, exchange opinions with other areas, and send out information nationwide, we are planning to invite experts and hold a forum to mark the 10th year since the Earthquake in Western Tottori Prefecture. We will make the most of this opportunity in conducting future disaster countermeasures.

Hospital Infection Related to Acinetobacter

 The multi-drug-resistant bacteria Acinetobacter is spreading like wildfire. Acinetobacter itself is an indigenous bacterium of no eminent threat. In an environment such as hospitals, where there are patients with lowered resistance, it could cause considerable damages, including infecting much of the hospital. The prefectural administration will issue guidelines to the hospitals in Tottori Prefecture and raise awareness in order to prevent the tragedy of in-house infection.

International Manga Summit

 From September 15 through 18, the International Manga Summit will be held in Bucheon City, South Korea, where I hear that the venue of the International Manga Summit in 2012 will be announced. As a candidate to host the summit in 2012, Tottori Prefecture will participate in the closing ceremony of the International Manga Summit there and promote the Manga comics of our prefecture.

Entry into Global Geopark Network

 The selection process is in the crucial stage for the San’in Coast to be registered in the Global Geopark Network. According to the latest information, it’s possible that the final decision will be made in the relevant conference to be held in Greece from October 1 through 3. We will exert our efforts until the very end.

Film Shooting of Korean TV Drama

 It’s finally been decided that the on-location crew of the Korean TV drama Athena will come to Tottori and the film shooting will be conducted in various parts of Tottori Prefecture. We are determined to make it a success in cooperation with the prefectural residents, companies and organizations.

Food Capital Tottori Prefecture Festa, etc.

 This weekend, the Food Capital Tottori Prefecture Festa will be held in the central part of Tottori Prefecture for the first time. A variety of foods will be collected not only from Tottori but also from various places in the Chugoku and Shikoku Regions (in western Japan), and the guests can enjoy such programs as Awa Odori dancing in the lively festival. A forum on dietary education will be held at the same time, and I hope and expect that lots of good information will be provided through this event.  In addition, we are planning to hold commemorative fish releasing events toward the National Rich Sea Creation Festival to be held next year, and a joint ceremony with Shimane Prefecture to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the registration of the Lake Nakaumi (in western end of Tottori Prefecture) under the Ramsar Convention. I strongly hope that lots of people will join these events.

Q. Regarding the nationalization of Tottori University of Environmental Studies, what points will the prefectural administration focus on in order to obtain the assembly’s approval?

 Nationalization alone won’t be enough to improve the situation. I think it necessary for the university itself to be reborn into a more attractive institution. The reorganization of faculties for that purpose, establishment of a preparatory organization aimed at endowing the university with functions as a think tank, future financial prospects and the like will be put on the agenda in order to obtain the assembly’s approval.

Q. On the assumption that operation of the preparatory organization is approved in the current assembly session, would it be possible to conduct the fundamental modifications within such a short time span?

 (After the reporter’s confirming that the prefecture is aiming to open the new Tottori University of Environmental Studies in April, 2012) In order to reopen the university in April, 2012, this assembly session will be the final time limit, I think. If delayed beyond this deadline, it will be difficult to meet the schedule. As soon as the assembly’s approval is obtained, we will start working on the preparation with all-out efforts.

Q. More than 650 people applied for the open casting call for volunteer extras for the TV drama Athena. Do you intend to provide opportunities for the prefectural residents and the TV crew to mingle with each other?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that such a high turnout shows the prefectural residents’ high interest in the TV drama,) For this film shooting, we have put requests to a number of parties for cooperation in recruiting extras and logistic support, and quite a number of companies and organizations have offered assistance to us, which assured us of the passion and enthusiasm of the local parties for this TV drama. It will be a golden opportunity for Tottori Prefecture to renew itself as a site of international tourism.  Since the filming schedule is extremely tight, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to set aside some particular time for such mingling, I hope that they will make friends on the spot. I hope and expect that this film shooting will lead to more cultural exchange between Japan and South Korea.

Q. Will you be specific about the details of the guidelines to be issued to the hospitals in the prefecture as countermeasures against the multi-drug-resistant bacteria?

 We are planning to raise awareness about appropriate quarantine of patients upon detection of the bacteria, Acinetobacter, and, the countermeasures against in-house infection especially at the initial stage.

Q. You seem to be considering raising the maximum amount of the subsidization for operation of DBS Cruise Ferry from the current 1 million yen to 1.5 million yen. Do you think this is appropriate?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that the consecutive red figures have forced the ship company to reduce the number of services and that the increase of the said subsidy amount would seem to be a de facto deficit-covering,) The maximum amount of the operational subsidies has been set at about one tenth of the operational costs. As a result of a decrease in the port calls in Japan from twice a week to once a week, the operational costs per single ship service increased in relative terms. Based on the simple calculation of the increase amount, we are planning to propose that the maximum amount of the operational subsidies be raised to an appropriate level.  This is a response measure to an unusual situation involving operational changes on the other side (DBS Cruise Ferry). This should be regarded as only a temporary measure.  In addition, this operational subsidization is limited to a fixed period of 3 years. We don’t have any plan to provide additional assistance as of now, after the period expires.

Q. The operational results of Asiana Airlines’ Yonago-Seoul Flight Services have been extremely poor recently. Do you have any plans to remedy this situation?

 We are trying to increase the numbers of both inbound and outbound passengers through various channels including the San’in International Tourism Council. In the press conference for the Korean TV drama Athena, we made promotion pitches to parties in the tourism industry, and they seemed to be quite interested. The upcoming film shooting to be conducted in Tottori has been highly publicized in South Korea. We will try and make the most of effects like these in order to achieve a higher seat occupancy rate for the Yonago-Seoul flight services.

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