About schedules, etc.

Next week, the prefectural assembly session will start. At the session, I will propose the supplemental budgets focusing on preliminary budgets for the next-generation reform promotion and the industrial development. In addition, I will explain to the assembly members the organization reform, concretely, my plan to form a project team in the Department of Labor and Commerce to expedite the industrial development. Yesterday, the central government held a meeting of the Reform Promotion of Decentralization Committee by which the fundamental policy for reform was proposed. I think that, in the policy, the ideas that the local governments have insisted are incorporated. I regret it a little because the Committee doesn’t cover the issues such as detailed figures, uneven distribution of tax revenue sources between municipalities and the shifting of tax sources from the central to the local level properly. Speaking from the standpoint of Tottori Governor, I will make a request to them that general revenue be secured combining local tax with the local allocation tax. One thing I am a little worried about is the possible streamline of local agencies. The local governments have conventionally undertaken the task. If continued, such duplex administration must be reviewed because it generates a large transfer of tax revenue sources. To accept such a task, the local governments will need a guarantee of at least 50/50 or more of financial resources from the central government. I will request that the Committee consider this issue so that it won’t result in personnel cutbacks on the local side.

Q. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has released its estimates for the country's population in the future. Do you have any ideas to prevent the falling population?

I think this is just an estimate according to trends by prefecture. Personally, I am very shocked that the estimated population in Tottori prefecture in 2035 will be below 500,000. The data shows that only Tokyo’s population will increase and the disparities among regions will widen more than the present. To break this trend, it will be necessary to secure living standards, including industry reallocation and infrastructure development. This is a warning to society that the nation should earnestly and squarely address the issue of disparities among regions.

Q. Are you thinking of working together with other governors whose prefectures are in the same situation as Tottori prefecture?

As for the issue of disparities among regions, I am thinking of joining hands with Shimane prefecture’s governor. To be concrete, we will raise our voices for the construction of the Sanin Express Highway. I am also planning to set up a study group with governors in their late forties. The main theme in the study will be regional disparities. I, together with my peers, will exchange respective local circumstances and then recommend to the central government the improvements of such disparities.

Q. It is obvious that we are heading to a depopulating society. What measures are you thinking to develop in our prefecture?

The major challenge will be the improvement of everyday convenience for the residents, specifically; enhancement of access to transportation as well as promotion of industry and employment. Another challenge will be education issues.

Q. Tottori University raised the issue of a subsidy cut in its administrative costs. What do you think about this?

I felt a discrepancy when the Tottori University President showed me the estimates. In this data, an increase of the subsidies is confined to partial universities (like Tokyo University and Kyoto University). The administrative costs of most universities will be reduced to 60 to 70% and Tottori University is one of them. Under present circumstances, allocation of research grants is concentrated to such specified universities. If applying this pattern, the disparity of administrative costs will expand more between regions. This is a very serious matter.

Q. The prefecture is planning to build the Hansen's disease Monument. What do you think of the use of the name “Monument (Kinenhi)” on the memorial stone?

As to whether the word Monument is appropriate will be worth serious consideration. In this word, it is shown our profound remorse for the patients who have been sacrificed because of the nation's mistaken policy. I think that this project is for leaving a message of the ultimate human-rights issue to future generations. We must review going back to the nature of this issue.

Q. Did you achieve any good results from your visit to Tokyo this week?

I visited the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to meet with Minister Akira Amari and staff. There, I talked with them about launching the prefectural council that enables local companies to be supported under the industrial location promotion law. I felt very encouraged receiving a flexible response to our intention. Relative to the local finances, I urged them to secure the general revenue including local allocation tax of Tottori prefecture and not to reduce it by the transfer of tax sources to local governments. I received a positive response from them.

Q. What was the reaction of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare as to the review of the deduction of state liability associated with the subsidies for specified diseases?

They treated me coldly. I think that this reaction is consistent stance of the ministry. They always hesitate.


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