About schedules, etc.

On October 31, the 12th North East Asia Local Governments Summit will be held in Sakaiminato city. In the days ahead, Tottori prefecture must propel the area’s development from various perspectives such as economy, environment and academic exchange, taking full advantage of site location along the coast of the Japan Sea and close to the continent. I will hold this Summit in anticipation of the exchanges of the Japan See rim age. We will have guests: Governor Kim JinSun of Gangwon-do province from South Korea, Vice-Governor Yongli Chen, Jilin Province from China, Governor Enkhbat of Mongol Central Province from Mongolia, and Governor Darkin Sergey Mikhaylovich of Russian Maritime Provinces from Russia. I want to have a heart-to-heart talk with each individual and discuss exchanges between the countries in the future. The main subject of discussion will be “environment and exchanges.”
In conjunction with this summit, a conference to discuss exchange programs of local presses and art experts will be held. This time, the North East Asia University Professors Conference will be held for the first time. A business talk over the issue of the Japan Ses rim will also be planned. I hope that that the five international municipalities will develop the engagement of environmental issues across the water through the exchanges.
As of October 1st, the population of Tottori prefecture was estimated 599,830, which is below 600,000 people. As it is necessary to formulate measures to deal with the falling population, I have been pursuing industrial development. But I feel now that Tottori prefecture needs to adopt a more serious stance on the UIJ turn* and the return to hometowns. This weekend, “Return to Hometown Fair in Osaka” will be held. I will participate in the fair as panelist to publicize Tottori prefecture there. I will temporarily place contact information in the Division of Decentralization for Autonomy in our prefectural office, and will set up a committee in cooperation with synthetic municipalities and a think-tank like the Tottori prefectural institution for policy making. In addition, it will be about time to prepare concrete measures for the next fiscal year’s budget.
* U tern means the return to hometown after someone went to the big cities for the purpose of entering college or employment. J turn means the return to someplace near the hometown after someone went to the big cities for the purpose of entering college or employment. I turn means the move to another place he or she selects regardless of their hometown.

Q. What degree of groundwork will you lay for the restart of exchanges between the Gangwon-do province and Tottori prefecture when you have talks with Gangwon-do province’s Governor Kim JinSun?

Tottori prefecture side wants to approach having a strong desire for the restart of our exchange. I do not think that Governor Kim JinSun is totally negative for our exchange restart, but I feel that he is still in a position that gives more priority to the opinions of the Gangwon-do residents and assembly. I am hoping to make a breakthrough in the current situation through the face to face meeting. The talks have been scheduled for October 30th. I also have arranged the talks between Governor Kim JinSun and Tetsunaga chairman of the Tottori prefectural assembly. The assembly will appeal to him our desire for the restart of exchanges. I want to make sincere efforts to convey the importance of the Japan-South Korea exchanges. (Background: the exchanges have broken off referable to the territorial dispute over Takeshima Island.)

Q. What is your real intention in asking about the territorial rights of Takeshima Island at the round-table conference where you will discuss fishery measures in Sanin region with the LDP Diet members?

As I have previously and repeatedly said, this is an issue that must be discussed on the national level between South Korea and Japan. My stance remains unchanged. We must aim for the ordinary fishing operation in the ream of the waters. What can be done by the private sector is limited. It is my understanding that the round-table conference is a gathering to push for a positive response to the central government.

Q. Regarding the falling population of Tottori prefecture below 600,000 people. What is your impression, what is your analysis for the reason, and what are your countermeasures in the future?

If it is analyzed by figure, there will be two reasons: one is due to the natural attrition; and the other is the reduction by social circumstances. Because of the declining birthrate and the aging of the society, the natural attrition is unavoidable. What I am anxious about the most is the advancing of the reduction by social circumstances. The reduction by social circumstances has rapidly been increasing from the time that the Koizumi’s structural reform started. The background factor may be seen in the deregulation introduced as part of the Koizumi’s structural reform, thereby accelerating plant location in the metropolitan areas. The employment opportunities are concentrated in the urban areas. Young people who go to big cities stay there; they do not want to return to Tottori prefecture. This may be the reason that I say the reduction is by social circumstances. I feel a little bit lonely that the population of Tottori prefecture has been recorded below six hundred thousand. Because of these reasons, I must forward whatever strategy I can take. From the prefectural point of view, it is important to strongly appeal Tottori to the people who are planning UIJ turn as their secondary settlement place. We will of course make efforts to strengthen industrial development. Unfortunately, there is a limit to the work that we can do this with only one prefecture. I therefore request the central government to hammer out the state policy challenge to prevent the secondary depopulation nationwide. The central government should take a bold initiative by means of stimulating firm location or putting corporate taxes down in the local regions like Tottori prefecture.

Q. The reduction of population by social circumstances took place from the inauguration of the Koizumi cabinet. What do you reflect back on the approach of the prefectural administration?

If I accept the fact that our population has been recorded below six hundred thousand, I must place the highest priority on the economic buildup and the industrial vitalization. As to the political measures for the people (including postwar baby-boom generation) who may be interested in returning to their hometowns, living near their hometowns, or finding a new place, I might have left these matters to municipalities. For the outside people who might think potentially Tottori prefecture is a good place to live, the picture of Tottori in their mind may not be a specific town like Tottori city or Yazu-cho. I should have been clearer about the place of contact information, the way of advertising campaign toward all parts of the country, and the selection of possible places in line with the prefecture and the municipalities. These points are what I look back at.

Q. Are there any good measures for high school graduates and college graduates to stay in their hometowns?

One intention is to increase the people who desire career change and work in local places, or who desire to engage in agriculture. The other is to encourage young people to work at any cost in Tottori prefecture. To attract young people with the motivation, local corporate efforts and contrivance will be required. With rapid development of the internet and other information networks, young people can easily make a communications loop. It will be a good idea if local young people could recommend Tottori prefecture to their friends or anyone known through mailing lists or blogs.

Q. Regarding the prefectural education board that has treated the results of the national achievement test as nondisclosure. Will this case be on trial?

Even if there is confrontation between the construes of the articles, I feel no objection for this case to be left to the court.

Q. Which do you think is proper - disclosure or nondisclosure of the results of the national achievement test based on municipality-by-municipality, school-by-school?

Honestly speaking, the results should be disclosed to a maximum extent. The authority that is responsible to disclose at this time is the prefectural education board. I am supposed to be standing watch of their insight, but I recommend to them to take the stance of disclosing in accordance with the prefectural information disclosure ordinance. Even if there is some inconvenience, the board should try to positively disclose the information as it may be useful to the residents.

Q. With regard to the prefectural human rights ordinance, the review panel will submit the written opinion very soon. How will you respond to it?

I’ve heard that the review panel is now preparing the final draft. They seemed to have quite a few materials to be concerned about that are not easy to reach a conclusion. I have patiently waited to receive a highly matured written opinion.

Q. The prefectural assembly before the last election raised their voice to enforce the ordinance. What do you think about this?

The situation has greatly changed before the establishment of the ordinance from now. The current assembly members seem to think about this issue cautiously, considering the fact that this ordinance has been withdrawn once.


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