About schedules, etc.

Yesterday, I went to Tokyo to attend the committee for the promotion of decentralization, held by the National Governors’ Association. I participated in its subcommittee to discuss the local tax system. To rectify the disparity between urban and rural areas, the government and the Liberal Democratic Party are reviewing the redistribution of local corporate enterprise tax and inhabitant tax (called Hojin-nizei). At the subcommittee meeting, I appealed that, even if uneven distribution of tax resources is rectified by the replacement of such Hojin-nizei with local consumption tax, we should tackle this issue from the viewpoint of securing or restoring local allocation tax which has been reduced. I expect that the National Governors’ Association will proceed in the same direction.
I talked personally with Minister Masuda of Internal Affairs and Communications and strongly appealed not to reduce the local allocation tax for the rectification of the regional gap as in the age of the three-pronged fiscal decentralization reform.
In addition, I appealed to the Tottori-elected Diet lawmakers for the constructions of roads and railways. As for the revenues earmarked for road construction, I strongly appealed to them to appropriate financial resources if these are capable of being incorporated into general revenue to the municipality like Tottori prefecture where the construction of the expressway is delayed.
Next week, I will visit Shanghai for the purpose of starting kicking in the economic exchanges with China. In Shanghai, we will have a debutante party of Tottori prefectural products co-hosted by the Japanese Consulate, and will have a business meeting between the local buyers and the prefectural food industry. We will also have a discussion about the shipping route between Shanghai and Sakaiminato.
We have investigated the multiple embezzlements by JA Tottori Seibu Division. As of now, I figured out that the ways they check and audit and the scheme of compliance, have not been good enough. Today, I have sent to JA Tottori Seibu Division the notice that gives them apologetic explanation. I will take all necessary procedures for administrative penalty after hearing their explanation.
I welcome the fact that the ruling and opposition parties will revise the Natural Disaster Victims Relief Law through their consultation. I have urged that the aid for the rebuilding homes of disaster victims should be done by the central government. Last July, when former Minister Suga of Internal Affairs and Communications visited Tottori prefecture, I pointed out that the rebuilding of houses was not included in the Natural Disaster Victims Relief Law, even immediately after the earthquake struck Chuetsu, Niigata, and that income and age requirements to receive supports were really hard to use. So I requested him to revise the requirements. I appreciate that my request will be incorporated in the revised Law, thanks to the consultation by the ruling and opposition parties. If this law is established, I will be able to review the system by consulting with the local municipalities.

Q. Last week, the North East Asia Regional Governments Summit was held in Sakaiminato. What were the result and achievement?

I could understand well that the regions across the Japan Sea have the same environmental problems. It brought about significant results in that we have now a common understanding of the yellow sand carried by the window from the deserts on the Chinese continent, water quality and marine resources. I want to immediately carry out survey study, setting Tottori prefecture as contact information and in line with the five regional governments. We have two significant results on exchanges: one is that we reached a common understanding on embarking for substantial economic exchanges; and the other is that we could deepen friendships and exchanges with Gangwon-do Province, South Korea and Mongol Central Province, Mongolia.

Q. Regarding the restart of exchanges with Gangwon-do Province, Governor Kim JinSun says they are in the eighth stage (based on a division into the ten stages taken to climb).

How will you fill the rest of the second stage from the Tottori prefecture side? Also, do you plan to visit South Korea in November?

The reason that the amicable relations of the two municipalities were disconnected was due to the breakup of the mutual trust. We need to rebuild a good relationship of trust. To go all the way to the top of the mountain, we must look at what can be done. Our vice governor Fujii will privately visit Gangwon-do Province. Mr. Fujii will bring my message in written form in which is included the confirmation we have discussed during the Summit to Governor Kim JinSun. I was thinking to visit Gangwon-do Province to meet and talk with Governor Kim JinSun sometime in November, but unfortunately, I am all booked up. I want to visit him while our enthusiasm is still high.

Q. Minshuto chief Ichiro Ozawa announced his intention to resign; but then had a change of heart. What do you feel about his behavior?

I understand to some extent the behaviors that Minshuto (Democratic Party in Japan) chief Ichiro Ozawa and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda respectively took. In the name of democracy, if politicians form the majority and could realize policies such as enactment of bills and budget bills for people, compromise will be essential. Without bringing the idea of a coalition into view, the present major issues cannot be settled. I can say this as the result of the Minshuto’s victory in the Upper House election. I want the ruling and opposite parties to have close talks to deal with individual policies, and to express what they can agree on, just as when they succeeded in making the Natural Disaster Victims Relief Law together. In my opinion, Minshuto should have a firm attitude, taking a little more time while gaining public understanding if they desire a grand coalition.

Q. With regard to the prefectural human rights ordinance, more specifically the ordinance as to its relief promotion and procedures. What system will you make after the ordinance is established?

First, I will explain the contents received from the review panel to the assembly members, listen to their opinions and organize what I have to do in the immediate future. For example, I will begin studying budgeted measures, facilitation of consultation service, and reinforcement of personnel and counseling function. I want to study what system is most suited before we start the budget compilation for the next fiscal year or later. For the time being, I want to leave it to the Human Rights Bureau to take care of it.

Q. The disposition of the Sakitsu residential estate has been made. What are the grounds that the prefectural administration judged that the disposition has a positive effect on the prefectural finance?

The annual revenue of the prefecture in this fiscal year will run into a loss in the amount of one billion yen or more. After the three-pronged fiscal decentralization reform, the local allocation tax has been cut against the consensus of local bodies, and cash on hand is running dry. We therefore must daringly dispose of the negative legacy. With respect to the disposition of Sakitsu residential estate (a prefectural housing project), I am now consulting with the assembly as to whether we should hold it or earn chase by the sale as our assets. There is a significant difference between book value and market value. When thinking of our financial condition at hand, it would be a better alternative to raise cash from the residential estate. If we keep this estate not for sale for a while, there will be no guarantee to be able to sell it at high price later. I also instructed the department concerned to review the disposal of other dormant assets.

Q. A student of Tottori University of Environmental Studies was arrested on suspicion of having threatened the prefectural staff. What is your comment on this?

I regret the incident very much. The student threatened the prefectural staff, mounting dissatisfaction about the prefectural government’s employment examination. If there is any inconvenience, I want to check the way of the examination.

Q. Regarding downsizing the equipment (plane) of Tottori and Yonago Airports of ANA, how do you cope with it?

Because of the appreciation of oil prices or other reasons, ANA is now reviewing flight plans on a nationwide scale. The ANA does not indent to decrease its flights, but to change the equipment temporally. I have repeatedly been saying to ANA that the seat occupancy between Tokyo and Tottori and Yonago is gradually increasing, and therefore to increase the number of flights with planes of large size. I also requested ANA to discount airfares a little more so that more customers will be able to use airplanes. I expect that ANA will coordinate their ideas toward the end of this year. However, in the process of negotiation, I predict that the change will be within a small range.



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