Initial Budget Compilation

 The compilation of the initial budget (for fiscal 2009) has almost been finalized. Aside from the budget for the ship service across the Sea of Japan, which is now under adjustment, the total budget amount will reach about 338.7 billion yen.
 Due to the decrease in tax revenues by about 8.5 billion yen and the massive reduction of the tax allocation (from Tokyo to Tottori Prefecture), it was very difficult to complete the budget compilation this time. On the other hand, the economic climate is extremely austere and the employment situation is becoming more and more severe. This circumstance is likely to continue in fiscal 2009, so budgetary preparation needs to be initiated in this fiscal year. For that purpose, the initial budget for fiscal 2009 has increased (compared with the previous year) for the first time since the initial budget compilation for fiscal 2001. The increase rate (compared with fiscal 2008) stands at 0.2 percent.
 Also, we have actively included the public investment for our daily surroundings in the budget as Tottori Prefecture’s independent projects, which resulted in a budget increase of 3.7 percent, according to the calculation in which supplementary budgets for January and February (of Fiscal 2008) are combined in the budget and 15 months is considered as a one-year unit. Including the public investment for advanced projects, the initial budget for fiscal 2009 will increase relative to the previous year, which hasn’t occurred for 10 years since fiscal 1999. This is a result of our concerns over the current situation and our determination to eke out a budget within our financial capability.
 It required us to withdraw some funds not only from the traditional sources but also an amount reaching 2 billion yen from the land development fund, which is an unprecedented effort. However, we decided to strictly maintain the finance induction index in order to achieve our primary goal of fiscal soundness. The balance of the prefectural fund is expected to stand at 31 billion yen as of the end of fiscal 2009. I will have another year in office after that and I feel that we are managing to maintain the last line of defense now.
 In order to avoid increasing the future financial burden, we are trying to minimize the issuance of bonds with no tax allocation benefit, which exclude bonds for extraordinary financial measures. We have compiled the budget with a view to laying out the public investment and industrial policies with ingenuity and maximum flexibility while trying to minimize the future burden.

Organizational Change

 We are planning to reorganize the prefectural administration in order to boost both vitality and security (in Tottori Prefecture). In response to the recent heightened alert for food security and other demands from prefectural residents, we will create the “Livelihood Security Bureau (as tentatively translated).” We will also create the “Employment and Human Resource General Division (as tentatively translated),” since employment is one of the key challenges for vitality. Furthermore, we are preparing to establish a division for policy planning in order to strengthen our planning function, and other divisional schemes related to forestry. In addition, we will take on challenges in view of the next fiscal year’s budget, by making partial changes in the administrative organization, such as establishment of the Tottori Sand Dune office.

Schedule, etc.

 We are going to open the “Kurayoshi Youth Job Plaza (as tentatively translated)” in Kurayoshi City. We have attracted a software-related company, IC COM, and they have decided to open their business location in Tottori Prefecture, so we will hold a signing ceremony. As for industrial matters, a celebration conference will be held to commemorate the breaking of the ten-billion-yen mark in the sale of broccoli by JA Tottori Seibu Division. And it’s still several days away, but we are planning to hold a dietary education symposium (titled “National Conference for Viewing Future Dietary Education,” as tentatively translated) early in March to send a message of dietary education and food-and-agriculture education, which can be one of the trademarks of Tottori Prefecture,

Apprehension of the fishing vessel originating from Tottori Prefecture

 The other day, the issue of the seizure of a fishing boat originating from Tottori Prefecture was swiftly resolved thanks to the understanding and cooperation of many people, which I’m very delighted about. We expect to carefully reexamine the development and have discussions with fishery companies and other parties in the fishery sector in order to come up with measures to prevent reoccurrence of such an incident.

Abduction of Japanese Nationals by North Korea

 Yesterday, Japan’s Foreign Minister Nakasone had a talk with South Korea’s President Lee Myung Bak and Foreign Minister Yu. I welcome the mood of cooperation between Japan and South Korea toward the resolution of the issue of abduction by North Korea. I hope this talk will help the progress of the abduction issue toward resolution.
 We are also exerting efforts to realize Ms.Kyoko Matsumo’s (one of the abductees, who was born in Tottori) return home as soon as possible. As of today, I will send letters under my signature to 6 regions which have a friendship tie with Tottori Prefecture in order to seek for their cooperation. It’s necessary to arouse public opinion worldwide. Joint efforts between Japan and South Korea have been initiated. We will also do what we can as a local autonomy.

Emergency Drill against Outbreak of New-type Flu

 Regarding the issue of the new-type flu, the prefectural administration will conduct an emergency drill this weekend for the first time. It will take place with cooperation of All Nippon Airways, airline business operators, relevant parties of the airport building, Tottori Central Hospital, and other various concerned parties. Through this drill, we will do our utmost to determine the course of our first response and upgrade the detailed procedure manual which is compiled right now.

Q. In the said budget compilation, you include the budget for the strategy toward the Kinki Region as a member of Greater Kinki. Will you tell us once again your intention reflected in this budget, especially about the wide-area cooperation?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that the said budget has been compiled according the future vision laid out by Governor Hirai which will actually take effect in the next fiscal year,) There were things that we are unable to foresee as a member of the Chugoku Region. Now there is a considerable need for us to develop another vision as a new member of Greater Kinki. I don’t mean that we should go out of the Chugoku Region. We need to play our role in the Kinki Region and utilize various functions of the Kinki Region, or at least attempt to do so. It’s necessary for us to challenge such cooperative measures more in the meeting of the Kinki Bloc Governors' Association in June.

Q. With regard to the withdrawal from the land development fund, is it a temporary measure, or will you continue to use this kind of means?

 I consider it as temporary. I haven’t decided on how we should handle it in the next fiscal year or whether we will withdraw money from the said fund in the budget compilation for fiscal 2010.

Q. In the future, if the economy further deteriorates, do you intend to take economic and employment measures by even undercutting the fiscal discipline?

 Frankly speaking, I don’t intend to go that far.

Q. The budget for public projects has been increased for the first time in a long while including the advanced projects. From now on, do you intend to reverse the policies of Former Governor Katayama to a certain extent?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that Mr. Katayama consistently tried to reduce the public projects,) I have a slightly different stance toward public investment from that of Mr. Katayama. In his term, public investment for fiscal 1999 increased after the additional budget was presented, which means that he increased public investment in his first year as governor, and then he shifted to reducing it. He started to choose and prioritize projects according to a new measure for assessing each and every public project. As a result, public investment continued to decrease. I’m following the same step. Instead of conducting meaningless projects, we are strictly assessing whether each one of them should be undertaken or not. Having said that, I actively budgeted the projects for our daily surroundings that might not be possible in an ordinary situation, thinking that there should be room for adjustment in consideration of the overall progress rate.

Q. Concerning the seizure of the fishery boat, what specific measures do you have in mind in order to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents?

 The Fisheries Agency is now investigating the details of this case, which we need to monitor. As the details become clearer, it’s possible that we will exchange ideas with relevant parties in the fishery sector and look to Tokyo for improvement measures. We are in the process of confirming this development.

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