About schedules, etc.

Yesterday, I conducted hearings for the supplemental budgets. Based on the assessment, we have just started the examination of the budgets necessary for carrying out the Next-generation Reform. Under the Local Industrial Advancement Law (tentative name) that the central government has enacted, I am willing to move on getting a head start over other prefectures to revitalize the Tottori prefecture’s industries. Tottori Industrial Promotion Organization is now preoccupied with launching the Tottori Prefecture Industrial Advancement Council within this month. Tomorrow, a meeting of the National Governors’ Association will be held. I will of course attend the meeting since I serve as the official for electing the chairperson and need to observe the formalities. On the occasion, I want to have a meeting with the governors with whom I can liaise common interests and aspirations and whose prefectures are in the same situation as Tottori prefecture where local revitalization or financial issues must be covered.
A reservoir along the Hino River, located in the western part of the prefecture, is at risk for its draught water flow. The draught is going from bad to worse, compared with that in 1994 and 2005. It is rice-planting season. So this is a serious problem in that area. Water conservation efforts and restrictions on water intake from rivers are what we must consider now. In addition, it will be necessary to urgently release water from the Kasho Dam. I will watch the situation closely in the foreseeable future. I therefore ask the residents to cooperate with us to secure their accustomed lifestyle.

Q. What do you think of Hometown tax payment?

Many local students leave for cities like Tokyo or Osaka to enter the universities after graduation from the local high schools and don’t come back to their hometowns. I support the proposal of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to allow taxpayers to pay a portion of their taxes to their hometowns in stead of municipalities where they live. Since we invest in the education of young people all over Tottori prefecture, I agree with the concept that allows these people to make financial contributions to their hometowns as part of their tax payments. However, this does not mean that the uneven distribution of tax revenue sources can be settled. So I want to appeal to the central government to expand the basic local financial resources such as the local allocation tax.

Q. Concerning tax system reform, a local shared tax* may arise unless the disparity between the central and local governments is rectified. What is your comment on this?

* The local shared tax is an indirect tax collected and distributed by the central government. The purpose of the local shared tax is to promote fiscal equalization.

I think that various tax items should be reviewed before debating a local shared tax. When this idea is developed, and if it results in a shortage, there will be concern as to how much money is allocated to Tottori Prefecture. In the case of Tottori prefecture, revenue from taxes shared is about 10%. Even by introducing the hometown tax payment, the administration would be very short in fully financing Tottori Prefecture. A device to secure financial resources like the allocation tax would be indispensable.

Q. Do you believe that the corporate tax should be drastically reviewed?

Business tax ranks first among taxes in the municipalities. In this respect, I do not think it is appropriate to collect a business tax from the prefectures like Tottori prefecture where businesses revenue is not so concentrated. Instead, it seems appropriate to shuffle a consumption tax and an income tax from the central government to the local governments collecting revenue from people where they make a living.

Q. Uneven distribution of corporate tax is a problem. What if the method that the central government charges in a lump sum and then redistributes it to the local governments?

That's a possibility. Realistically speaking, this will be a challenge. Nothing comes easy.

Q. If the Hometown tax payment is realized, might it be a good excuse for reducing the total amount of the local allocation tax?

There might be some danger of revenue reduction in this situation. As I previously said, I want to appeal to the central government to expand the basic local financial resources such as the local allocation tax. I want to discuss this issue with my like-minded peers in the National Governors’ Association and jointly deliver our statement to the government.

Q. Is there any governor with whom you share common interests and aspirations?

I want the opportunity to talk with the young-generation governors of my age as my starting platform.

Q. Do you intend to support a particular candidate in the coming Upper House election?

At the election time, I will make a statement from the viewpoint of a politician.

Q. Regarding the name removal of Donghae (East Sea)* on the monument built in Kotoura Town as a token of Friendship and Exchange between Tottori Prefecture and Gangwon-do of Sough Korea. What do you make of this happening?

* So called by South Korea; Japan calls it Nihonkai (Sea of Japan)

I feel sympathy for the Kotoura Town Mayor, Tanaka. Historically we have had disputes related to the designation in the bilateral relationship. This issue should be solved on a county by country basis. We often witness ideological conflict between two powers. But it is precisely because of examples like this that I think we must overcome such conflict by interregional exchange. Mutual understanding to deepen the relationship between the two is of great significance. So I want the residents of Kotoura Town to maintain friendship exchanges, using this experience to further positive development. Because the epitaph on the monument was built by Kotoura Town, I am in no position to order them to do anything. I want to respect the town’s decision relating to this issue. I have sent a message to Mr. Kim JinSun, Provincial Governor of Gangwon Province that has a sisterhood relationship with Tottori Prefecture, and I have received a matter-of-fact letter from him. He stated in the letter that "It’s too bad” and adding indication of his willingness to continue our friendship. I really hope that this name removal won’t cause either of us behavioral inhibition of private-sector exchange in the Japan-South Korea’s friendship.

Q. Concerning securing doctors, how do you see the balance between the prefectural scholarship system and the system that the central government examines?

The doctor shortage is a problem for the entire nation. I really hope for resolution by the central government. Meanwhile, at the National Governors’ Association meeting, I want to work with the voluntary members as to what we can propose to the government on this issue.

Q. How do you want to change Tottori prefecture in the future? (Question from a junior high school student)

I envision Tottori prefecture to be the place where young people like you can live with hopes for their future and where they really want to spend a lifetime. I am now talking with the prefectural education board to make schools not only enjoyable and cheerful but a good learning environment as well.


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