Looking back to the year 2007.

It is the last press conference of this year. I appreciate your understanding and cooperation throughout the year. I also appreciate the people of Tottori prefecture for their valuable efforts to the prefectural government. Since I took office in last April, I have worked to launch the Office for New Forms (Jisedai Kaikaku Suishin Honbu) by which the administration initiates a new run of business. I am glad that some of pledges, such as the inauguration of “child-raising support passport,” that I have written in my manifesto have been accomplished. However, there are issues that must be postponed into the coming year. I have worked in an all-out effort for industry promotion, job security and the attraction of companies, but unfortunately job-offers-to-seekers ratio was not raised. Therefore, in the next fiscal year, all the staff in the administration will commit to heighten the activation of this area. Although some key issues still remain, I have achieved a certain level of performance as in my first year, if I evaluate myself. Especially, it is my great memory that Governor Kim JinSun of Gangwon-do Province, South Korea and I had an exchange of promises to cultivate friendship with each other. Also, the 12th North East Asia Local Governments Summit that Tottori prefecture hosted was fruitful. The representatives of five regions including Tottori prefecture have agreed on exchanging friendships and also have agreed to engage environmental issues all together. The suspension issue of the route service between Seoul and Yonago by Asiana Airlines has emerged. I think that it is now climbing out of the crisis which occurred last August. I would like to negotiate further with Asiana for the continuation of this route at the earliest convenience.

About schedules, etc.

We are now working on the measures against the soaring oil prices. In this regard, I have instructed the department concerned to provide a consultation service to help residents or their businesses that suffer from the soaring oil prices, by the financing facility that the prefecture will adopt through revisions.
As for the hike of lump oil prices, since the central government already announced its measures, I have instructed the prefectural staffs to urgently figure out the situation that the municipalities are in now. We will discuss the prefecture’s support strategy in the February assembly session in which the supplemental budgets will be compiled.
Regarding Hepatitis C patients who may test positive from tainted blood products, the prefecture will conduct free blood tests for hepatitis from the early next year.
Yesterday, I reapplied to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology that Mitokusan be designated as a World Heritage Site. I appealed that Mitokusan be declared a World Heritage Site. In addition, a gathering was held to discuss Geopark registration along with Hyogo and Kyoto prefectures. I want the government to decide the authorities that deal with this issue by next May. I requested to Minister Kaifu of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to realize these two projects when I went to Tokyo recently.

Q. Governor, you say that you will establish the Tottori prefecture versioned “Hello Work” (Public Employment Security Office). Do you intend to move into action, by taking budgetary steps?

In Tottori prefecture, out of the existing six Hello Works, Sakaiminato city and Koge office (old Yazu-gun) are planned to be ended in March. First, I need to talk with Sakaiminato city and Koge office. We are now proceeding with paperwork. Based on the idea from it and by incorporating the budgetary steps that the national government proposes into the idea, I plan to launch the Tottori prefecture versioned “Hello Work” cooperatively with the municipalities.

Q. When will this be implemented?

Since the existing Hello Work system will be abolished in March, the new Hello Work will start in April. After the turn of the year, I would like to talk with the city mayors and town mayors as to what functions are necessary for the Tottori versioned Hello Work. And after that, I must negotiate with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare what cooperation is possible from them. It is expected to be in January.

Q. Regarding the measures for high-price of crude oil. Will the prefectural scheme to be reviewed in the supplemental budget compilation in February differ from that of the central government? How about the subsidies of lump oil prices?

Just recently, the central government has disclosed the full details of the urgent measures for high-price of crude oil, and is calling for going halves on the subsidies with the local governments. I will consider the scheme at our side in light of that of the central government. However, I need to see what the municipalities do first. You should picture the way Hokkaido applies, that is, the subsidies of lump oils for the people of low income in the cold climates. My intention is similar to what Hokkaido does.

Q. What problem does the prefecture have in attracting companies?

When attracting companies, one of the disadvantages of our prefecture will be the regional inconvenience, including the delay of infrastructure. Also, construction of expressways and maintenance of the roads will be a high priority to attract companies. On the other hand, if we could make an appeal for Tottori prefecture, it would be the geographical advantage facing the Japan Sea which enables the use of Sakaiminato Port as a shipping route. Furthermore, we must draw forth something effective. The financial capability is an important index. Of course, I will negotiate with interested companies as much as I can, such as by offering one-stop service or other services; however, there is a limit. I think that there must be another strategy; for example, tax incentive for industry relocation as an instrument of state policy, subsidy devices to help promote the industrial orientation to the local governments or the like.

Q. You say that Tottori Sanyo Electric Company secures the employment, but the concrete plan seems to be invisible. How will the prefectural administration respond to it?

We have not collected information from Tottori Sanyo Company since November. Because it is reported that the way of account settlement of the entire Sanyo Electric Company groups is inappropriate, we are watching how it develops. I haven’t yet heard the concrete plan of the job security from Tottori Sanyo, but have heard that the parent company, namely, Sanyo Electric Co. will support Tottori Sanyo for its job security. On that premise, we will back up Tottori Sanyo.

Q. Yesterday, the discussion session with experts was held regarding the governor’s remuneration at the term end. It was concluded that the dominated opinions were as it stands now. Is there any concrete idea of yourself?

If the salaries of the prefecture’s general staffs are cut 0.2%, I (being in the graded post) would like to share the pains as a member of the organization.

Q. For the budget compilation for new fiscal year, it will be the point whether or not the primary balance* can be achieved. How do you see it?

There is a severe situation. I will consider creating the financial resources by attrition to streamline the prefectural administration. This does not bring prompt relief. Although I set the target that the fundamental fund is kept at 30 billion yen during four years, there is the possibility of dropping almost to the limit just for first fiscal year. I would like to contrive the ways to minimize the damage as much as possible.

(*Primary balance: Government net borrowing or net lending excluding interest payments on consolidated government liabilities)

Q. Regarding the staff cuts, how many employees do you intend to cut for next fiscal year? If you are considering restraining the recruitment in the four years to come, isn’t it about time to show us the time schedule?

Broadly it is 5% cut, and more as my wishful thinking. Concretely, the executive office is now examining carefully the departments/divisions one by one. The results through examination will reflect the organizational structure and the fixed number for next fiscal year. I will be able to show you the targeted value in the budget compilation in February.

Q. Regarding the Public Forestation Corporation, which is in a state of collapse. How will the prefecture deal with it or seek the support measures from the national government?

The scheme of the Public Forestation Corporation is the failure of the national policy. This is a problem not only for Tottori prefecture but for all prefectures. Tottori prefecture has been taking action for its improvement. For example, we have carried out the reduction in expenses to reduce future debts, and miniaturization of the organization. Also, in the process of budget compilation in the last fiscal year, the conventional fund system has been changed to the form of a loan from the prefecture. I will urge the government to reconsider this scheme, while leaving the scheme of the present public forestation corporation in the foreseeable future.

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