About schedules, etc.

The 11th World Track and Field Championships in Osaka 2007 will be open soon. Tomorrow night, the Jamaican team will arrive at the Kansai International Airport. Since Tottori prefecture is hosting the Jamaican team as their training camp, I together with the residents, give a hearty welcome to the Jamaican team and wish them the best of luck in their endeavors.
Next week, the ocean service of Sakaiminato Port will be changed. KMTC (Korea Marine Transport Co., Ltd.) will offer one more container liner service in response to our request for convenience. So we will have three days service a week (including the service by Heung-A Shipping Co., Ltd.) between Pusan, South Korea and Kanazawa via Sakaiminato. Relative to this matter, early this week I went to Tokyo to meet with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where I secured the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the port sales (the attraction activities of overseas shipping route) with Chinese shippers and shipping firms that will be opening in Shanghai in this fall.

Q. The central government has shown a rough guide in which the minimum wage hike in the prefecture will be 6 to 7 yen. What do you think about this?

As you are aware, Tottori prefecture is not only under the severe employment conditions but also weakening the vitality of corporations. Especially, this hike may affect the failing companies. The final figure will be determined by the central government through their further review. I think this figure is still within the realm of option. If the minimum wage is raised more, management of many companies will be damaged. Meanwhile, the central government might have presented such a rough guide, taking the working poor into consideration.

Q. Regarding a broad overview of the budget for the next fiscal year that was decided by the Council on Fiscal and Economic Policy, do you think that it reflects the will of the voters in the Upper House election?

At the present time, I have not evaluated it as I can hardly see what the central government learned from the results of the Upper House election. It would be logical for them to compile a broad overview of the budget after the overhaul of the arguments such as the agricultural and welfare problems that have arisen in the Upper House election. The Council on Fiscal and Economic Policy should have reviewed the budget through decent discussions and by humbly accepting the criticism directed at the regional disparities. The budget this time is just a broad view, and the important thing is what is inside. So I want to maintain a strong will to state my opinions when necessary.

Q. Regarding the issue of freshwater clam fishing in Togo Pond, fishing has been allowed as a result of easing the standard value of pesticide residue.

I, together with the Yurihama town residents, have been protesting strongly against the positive list system which determines the allowance of pesticide residue and by which Yurihama people have been unable to fish freshwater clams in Togo Pond. I appreciate the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s immediate decision that the standard value of Cumyluron (water quality standards and physical properties affecting water contamination potential) has been set to 0.4 ppm (parts per million).

Q. Concerning the special medical costs subsidy program*, the reviewed ordinance is shaping up well. How do you accept this?

I proposed the reviewed ordinance during the regular assembly session in June, and thereafter various opinions arose from the outside. I have revised some portions, taking the opinions into account. This special medical costs subsidy program is a joint project between the municipalities and the prefectural administration. So I consulted with them and received from them a request for the revision. All taken together, the final draft becomes possible now. I am going to present this draft to the assembly and then set it into action.

Q. Tottori city government hammered out the entrance grants for the Tottori University of Environmental Studies. What aid are you considering from the prefectural government?

The prefectural government has already and separately donated a fund to this university for supporting their environmental research, etc. The prefecture therefore has no special aids in this instance.

Q. Could you explain in more detail the port sales (the attraction activities of shipping routes) which will be held in Shanghai in the fall this year?

I will visit Shanghai aiming for the attraction of shipping routes with the Chinese shippers and shipping firms. I have already secured the cooperation of the Consulate General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in Shanghai for our attraction activities of shipping routes. If we host a reception along with the Consulate General in Shanghai, we will be able to give a certain status having high appeal to the local parties concerned. I will come up with the concrete measures for the port sales from now.

Q. From this month, the prefecture is adopting a new bidding system for ordering construction.

When will general public bidding be introduced? Or do you think that it is unnecessary to eliminate designated bidding and then introduce a system based on the general public bidding?

Concerning this issue, I think that the realistic option is important. Above all, completely eliminating irregularities such as bid-rigging is most important. Since August 1st, we have been implementing various revisions including the change in the designated bidding method, together with some other systems. One example is a limit on the lowest bid price. For the prevention of shoddy construction work, the prefecture has set the limit for the lowest bid price to 80% of the estimated price for contract which is officially announced in advance. However, I have introduced a drastic reform of the calculation method. It is not necessarily set to 80% evenly. My concern is the addition of the skill assessment to the new bidding system. I will take the new system a step further depending on the degree of settlement or listening to public comments.

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