On this first press conference

As of today, I am given the opportunity to talk about the prefectural administration with the press here. I will hold this press conference, basically every Thursday. I would like to regard this opportunity as the chance to communicate with the prefectural residents the same as before.

Regarding the management of the prefectural administration

I consider increasing communication with the prefectural residents to be my style of administrative management. Discussion sessions of the administrative matters with municipalities have been held several times a year. Since the meeting to be held gathering the municipal leaders into a hall is insufficient, I would like to go out to meet the people as much as possible to share and talk with them about the individual subjects as needed. Also, I would like to get right into a dialogue with the industrial leaders at an early date.

About schedules, etc.

This weekend, I will attend the event commemorating the 100th anniversary of “Jinpukaku” (a European-style villa built in 1907) and another event held at “Mitokusan” (The National Treasure Nageiredo Temple). Supporting the transmission of information of such history-themed tourism will be an important task for me. As for the administrative problems, hearings are conducted in respective departments. Meanwhile, I will plan to visit Tokyo and Hiroshima as I need to open dialogues with the government organizations to meet the local people's aspirations.

Q. With regard to the welfare issues other than the law to help the disabled become independent, what instructions did you give to the concerned department?

Medical expenses for specified diseases were a campaign issue. I spoke about this issue to the Department of Health and Welfare to reconsider without prejudgment. The administration should plan the proposed revision based on the public comments, and then such revisions must be verified by the experts in the concerned circles. Initially, the Department of Health and Welfare was thinking to settle the proposed revision at the regular assembly session in June. There is no rush. They had better review the proposed revision in June, while listening to the public opinions. It’s not too late to submit the proposal at the assembly session in September.

Q. Do you mean that the current proposal should be revised?

The law to help the disabled become independent was enacted as of April 1, 2006. In my opinion, the point is as to how the contribution between welfare and medical treatment is balanced. Since the contribution to the welfare was introduced, that of the medical treatment for specified diseases should also be reviewed. Situations may vary from the families having disabled members to the individual disabled person. I think that at least the overhaul of now existing cases will be necessary, taking household finance and frequency of seeing doctors into account.

Q. Is that your understanding that the current system is too strict for some people?

There may be households that feel financially difficulty due to too many bills to pay. According to the public comments, quite a lot of people think that there is great expense involved. The prefecture must show the proposal in a polite manner in order to obtain consent from the residents. I have given instructions to the Department of Health and Welfare not only to request the public comments but also to survey individual households and actual conditions of families, especially to give the family in a difficult situation a helping hand.

Q. What is the reason that you have discontinued the Tottori Jiritsu-Juku (Tottori Self-Reliance School)?

Right now, there is no budget for the Tottori Jiritsu-Juku. I will be creating budgets, but I am taking a negative attitude about the continuation. I will not stop making a model of local autonomy proposed from Tottori prefecture; however, I am wondering if there is an environment to invite people from around the county to the Tottori Jiritsu-Juku. I am uncertain about the future, but I have no intention of holding it this year.

Q. What question do you have to invite the participants from all over the country?

I think that, in the past two years, many people gathered from all over the country to see the former governor Katayama’s face, as he is personable, unique and attractive. I wish I could grow like him, but there is some doubt in my mind to continue the Tottori Jiritsu-Juku. Now is the time for me to develop the grass-rooted self-government in the prefecture and to focus on creating a structure befitting the local government through dialogue with the residents. It will be the matter of first consideration to foster a self-government culture.

Q. Are you going to carry out the administrative management, always giving the priority to the manifesto?

I do not think that my first term will end by carrying out everything written in the manifesto. I will adopt various opinions from residents as well as junior office staff to the administrative management. I will conduct the manifesto as it is necessary to verify the manifesto itself. I would like to accept an external evaluation at the halfway point in office. Then I will consider what I can do referring to polls of the residents and the opinions of external knowledgeable persons during another two years in office.

Q. What formation will you make to help stimulate the local economy and to promote the employment in the prefecture?

In practice, it would be better to consider these issues pertinent to the respective regions (Eastern, Middle and Western parts) rather than as a single prefecture.

Q. Structurally, how do you imagine it?

It shouldn’t be conducted by a certain person’s position. Also, it is preferable to place short term staff and to make a system that allows the remaking of individual policy challenges. In the process of policymaking, I would like to introduce civilian’s ideas; otherwise there is the risk of the policy falling into the hands of officials. The former governor has been advancing reforms that close the gap between the prefectural administration and the residents. There may be the order-made administration considering the commerce and industry more in cooperation with the proposal from the residents. I think that it will be necessary for us to take care of wide-ranged business entities with big-boned measures, while including the attraction of the companies to our region and the promotion of LC (liquid crystal) companies and food-processing industries.

Q. Is there an immediate plan to implement main sales for attraction of companies to our region?

I am planning to go to Tokyo shortly. So I am inquiring to the Department of Labor and Commerce about my visit to the big companies like Sharp and Ricoh for their attraction. The setting has not yet prepared.

Q. Could you tell us if you have any concrete ideas of pilot shop?

I cannot get started with it now as this involves budgets. I have already given instructions to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery and the Department of Labor and Commerce for the study. I am very eager to have a pilot shop in the main consuming areas like Tokyo and Osaka where neat products from our prefecture, such as folk craft articles, art works, and agricultural and marine products, are worth evaluating or testing. I agree that we should have a pilot shop to sell our proud products, taking full advantage of know-how in the private sector.

Q. What do you think about the establishment of the Tottori Art Museum?

I have contacted many residents to listen to their opinions. Some requested me to build the prefectural art museum as soon as possible and some made comments to keep the current traveling museum style for the reason that it’s a lot cheaper than building. Also, I have heard another opinion recommending that we should pursue a different way since there are city-supported museums and art museums in Kurayoshi and Yonago. Actually, building the prefectural art museum must be a dream of all the residents. I think the time is not yet ripe for it at the current stage.

Q. How will you feature your style or personality as the top of the prefecture?

I would like to manage the administration not to seek a top-down control but to aim at an approach by which the prefectural employees would be exited about. I wish to possess the style of a coordinator rather than a leader. However, I will take a leadership role and speak out as needed to the central government.

Q. You will be compared with the previous governor. What are your comments on this?

It is inevitable. What I can say is that I will place the ultimate priority on happiness of people in Tottori prefecture. In this sense, I have the common idea or philosophy as the previous governor.

Q. Will you consider the formulation of comprehensive plans?

I think that it will be necessary to draft a near-future vision in the mid- and long-term aspects. I’ve heard that some people think it is hard to understand for what direction the prefecture is heading. I’ve also heard that people say they cannot see the future of the Tottori government. I will be requested to draft a near-future and dream-inspiring target indicating therein the challenge to realize the target.

Q. What are the common themes of Shimane and Tottori prefectures?

For one thing, it is the tourism-related issue focusing on Lake Nakaumi, including its water quality and environment. There are many other things we share, such as development of local communities.

Q. With regard to the review of the prefectural human rights ordinance, what will the prefectural administration do, if the decision of the review panel is received?

If there is anything I can do, it will be after receiving the decision of the review panel. At this moment, I can only wait and see what happens.

Q. What is your impression on holding the press conference for the first time?

I feel that I have started with a fresh mind. During this Q&A session, I have felt as if the residents were right there with you. I am glad that I will be able to meet you on a weekly basis. I welcome extra press conferences at any time if necessary. Right now, my heart is filled with feelings of firm commitment to build an open local government following the previous administration.

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