About Kazuki Sakuraba who won the Naoki Prize

I have great news for Tottori prefecture that Kazuki Sakuraba, born in Yonago city, has won the 138th Naoki Prize for her work titled "Watashi no Otoko" (My man). I extend to her my sincere congratulations and would like to share the joy with the Tottori residents. Although it is a novel with a corrupt tone that boldly depicts the implications of blood relations between a father and daughter, I could read the novel at one sitting. I wish her the best of luck in her future, together with her contribution to the local literary and artistic circles.

About schedules, etc.

As the result of recruitment for the naming rights of two facilities: the Fuse General Playground Park; and the Kenmin Bunka Kaikan (the Prefectural Culture Hall), there were three nominations. This morning, I called the judging committee so we could establish a policy to contract with a nominee outside the prefecture for the Fuse General Playground Park and a nominee in the prefecture for the Kenmin Bunka Kaikan. The committee will work out the details with the nominees.
Korea Golf Course Operator, Emerson Pacific will form a business tie-up with Green Park Daisen G.C. For the purpose of Tottori prefecture flying ahead to be a resort in North East Asia, the business tie-up with a South Korean company is of great significance in both countries. I wish the economy in the prefecture to be activated to gain international recognition for tourism.
We are under investigation for the prefectural tax revenues. As the Tottori prefecture is in a financially tough situation, I might consider issuing local government bonds to fill the decrease of revenues, as other prefectures have done. My understanding is that this is due to the impact of the state income taxes having been shifted to the local inhabitant rates, associated with the transfer of tax revenue sources to local governments. In order for the staff members in the prefecture to smoothly handle levies, by the end of this month if all goes smoothly, I am thinking to shuffle those who are enrolled in one city and nine towns by a short-term contract. The municipal offices take charges of collecting individual inhabitant tax and if they delay their collecting ability, it will also cause delay on the prefectural side. I expect that collectability will be improved by sharing the know-how between the prefectural administration and municipalities.

Q. How much do you intend to pour into the local bond issue to fill the decrease of revenues?

It would be 800 million yen for the corporate-related tax and 400 million yen for the individual inhabitant tax. From the fact that sales of automobiles are stagnant, a fall of about 100 million yen’s fall in revenue is anticipated. In total, I estimate issuing local bonds of 1.5 billion yen.

Q. Regarding the road-use taxes legislated for road construction. I think that you should provide information to the residents in case that the temporary rates of road-related taxes are dismantled before lobbying the government or Diet lawmakers?

It is the least I can do to give an appropriate explanation to the residents, although this subject may be hard to understand. As for the revision of the road-use taxes legislated for road or the earmarked funds for road improvement (Doro tokutei zaigen) that is now debating in the Diet, there will be a gap between the metropolitan areas and rural areas. If the funds are used up, we must secure funds in another way. Also, the impact on the budget compilation is enormous and we would be pushed into a situation that faces an uncertain future. I understand that as the next Lower House election is coming into sight, both the ruling coalition and the opposition are heating up. Whatever the situation is, I suggest the Cabinet Office and Diet lawmakers do what they should place priority on the projects such as maintenance of the residential roads that people really need.

Q. Regarding the Hepatitis C from tainted blood products. What do you think about the patients who cannot obtain the certification that they have been given the blood products?

The Diet enacted a special measures law to compensate people infected with hepatitis C through tainted blood products. It is a significant result that all lawsuits have been settled, and the long court battles have finally ended. However, the government still has responsibility for ironing out the remaining problems including the case of the victim in Saihaku-gun.

Q. The prefecture has hammered out the emergency aid for heating oil costs, focusing around the families on relief. Don’t you intend to change your stance?

I have been contacting municipalities about the problem of heating oil costs. The municipalities respectively may coordinate the coverage, but I want to approach it as a representative of the prefectural administration. I will discuss how to incorporate the subsidies for the families on relief into the supplemental budgets in the February assembly session.

Q. Next week, you will visit and have talks with Kim JinSun, Governor of Gangwon-do province. What approach will you take? Or could you tell us if you have any new proposals?

I will meet with Governor Kim JinSun, taking the opportunity to attend the snow festival there. We would like to discuss some measures for the further development of tourism and economy that will prove to our mutual advantages.

Q. When did you read the Sakuraba’s winning novel “Watashi no Otoko” (My man)?

Yesterday, I bought “Watashi no Otoko” on my way to Tokyo and read it in three hours. My impressions are: its theme or concept is clear; it depicts the characters’ setting thickly with sophisticated techniques, etc. It is a privilege for the writer from Tottori prefecture to be nominated for the Naoki Prize itself. I was so excited to read this prizewinner. I experienced another person's pleasure just as my own pleasure. It is the first time that Tottori prefecture produced the winner of either the Akutagawa literary award or the Naoki prize. I am glad to say that Kazuki Sakuraba is the pride of Tottori prefecture.

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