National Economic Measures

 The national government is moving toward formulating urgent measures for the economy and employment. I went to Tokyo on Tuesday in order to make appeals to relevant ministries including the Ministries of Economy, Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and, Internal Affairs and Communications. I have the impression that the ruling coalition is reflecting the current trend, which is at the backdrop for a number of requests I made this time in their discussion for the most part. It’s reported by news media that the ruling parties will decide on the relevant measures as early as April 10.

Urgent Project by Next-Generation Reform Promotion Head Office

 We have been going forward with our next-generation reform program for the past 2 years and now I feel the need to step up the pace for the next 2 years. So I will convene a meeting of the Next-Generation Reform Promotion Head Office. I intend to establish an organization within the prefectural administration for the engagement of particularly urgent projects.

Schedule, etc.

 Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Hitachi will visit Tottori from April 17 to 19. I welcome their visit with all the residents in Tottori Prefecture. According to the schedule preparation currently in progress, their Highnesses will attend the opening ceremony and opening reception party of the World Sand Sculpture Festival before visiting sightseeing spots such as the Residence of the Ishitani family and the Nagashi-bina Museum, and facilities such as Shikano Kachimi-en (a facility for the mentally handicapped).
 In the central and western parts of Tottori Prefecture, the San-in Culture and Tourism Zone has been established. In order to strengthen its organizational structure, we will set up the Zone’s permanent office in the Yonago Convention Center. The relevant parties will assemble and hold an opening ceremony.
 The expressway toll has been reduced to 1,000 yen, and we will do our best to attract tourists to the San-in Region.

Q. Yesterday the National Governors’ Association and the national government discussed the issue of the financial burden on local governments for the national public works projects. How do you evaluate its development?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that negotiations with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport have yet to conclude,) It’s groundbreaking that a negotiation table has been set for the National Governors’ Association and national government ministries to begin debate. This financial burden should be eliminated in the future and the sharing of roles should be clarified between the national government and local autonomies for the goal. For the time being, we should address and resolve the issue of the charge without any breakdown attached.

Q. In the said discussion, Minister Kaneko of MLIT and Minister Ishiba of MAFF expressed their positive attitude toward disclosing the breakdown of the said financial burden. How do you evaluate that?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that Minister Hatoyama of MIC referred to the burden and questioning whether the appeals by the National Governors’ Association and others turned out to be effective,) Although yesterday’s meeting is reported in the news to have been somewhat unsuccessful, it’s not only important but also groundbreaking that the negotiation table has been set, which initiated the mood to make the base and seek for a common ground toward mutual understanding. Until now, the financial burden for the national public works projects has been kept in the black box. I appreciate the fact that we have finally opened the way for the resolution of the long standing problem. Minister Kaneko and Minister Ishiba hinted their intention to make a compromise and disclose the breakdown, so we can expect some progress in the upcoming negotiations.

Q. Regarding the urgent projects, what kind of the urgent projects will be particularly implemented in relation to DBS Cruise Ferry?

 “The Urgent Project” is a popular program adopted by Sharp Corporation, for example, in which capable staff members are assembled from each division in order to carry out a project swiftly. I’m thinking of introducing the method by which we assign some administrative staff to focus on the team’s project for a certain period of time as the Urgent Project, and helping the project run smoothly in various aspects by providing the staff with a badge and so forth.
 If the ship service (by DBS Cruise Ferry) is launched in June, it’s necessary to collect orders for baggage service or attract tourists within only 2 months. So I feel the need to initiate an urgent project which will continue for some time until and after the launching. We will discuss it today.

Q. The other day, you submitted a request for revision of the clinical training for new doctors. Do you have any drastic measures in mind to resolve the matter of uneven distribution of doctors specifically?

 (After the reporter’s request to mention measures other than increasing the number of doctors,) There are several possible measures to distribute trainee doctors to regions and I suggested some of them to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. For example, the national government can delegate a certain degree of power to make adjustment to the prefectures which have already established their medical zone, or back up the attractive aspects of each region so that the trainee doctors will be inclined to settle there.
 In the compilation of the national supplementary budget, there seems to emerge a move toward the establishment of a fund for implementing medicine-related measures, including the ones for addressing the uneven distribution of doctors. Although its content is not clear yet, we will monitor its development.

Q. In response to the threat of missiles from North Korea, which became imminent around last Saturday and Sunday, how was it summarized within the prefectural administration?

 Thanks to the cooperation of local municipalities, we could convey the necessary information to the prefectural residents very speedily. However, we also confirmed some problems that need to be resolved. This time’s experience of conveying information regarding the said launch of a flying object can be applied to various contingencies such as large-scale natural disasters or new-type flu, so it can be regarded as a hands-on training exercise.
 The prefectural government could have sent out the information to the municipalities more clearly, and there seems to have been a discrepancy in perceptions among municipalities. It’s necessary to verify how such points could be evaluated respectively.

Q. I agree that the prefectural administration conveyed the information to municipalities adequately. But I think that there are still some corrections to be made in order for the necessary information to reach every prefectural resident.

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that the final goal should be conveying the information to Tottori Prefecture’s whole population of 600,000, and that municipalities may not be able to convey the information to every citizen over the community wireless system, depending on the weather,) In that sense, this incident should be taken as a good drill for the municipalities. I sincerely hope that they will reexamine the relevant system. In addition, as part of the recent economic measures, Tottori Prefecture made requests to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and other authorities on Tuesday about several items. One of them is a communication system called “J-ALERT” (a nationwide early warning system). In consideration of the lesson we have learned this time, I suggested that the national government should take drastic measures in order to speed up the establishment of J-ALERT. If Tokyo proposes its relevant plans, we can introduce them in cooperation with local municipalities as one of our options.

Q. Will you give us a little more detailed explanation about the establishment of the office and the lineup of the staff concerning the San-in Culture and Tourism Zone?

 The office will be opened with 2 staff members. One has been engaged in the establishment of the said zone as a kind of director across the two prefectures (Shimane and Tottori). The other is on the prefectural payroll. In order to vitalize the operation, we will ask various sectors for cooperation in terms of proposing touristic plans in large number and so forth. Shimane Prefecture is also planning to set up a similar office. We envision that each of the two prefectures will hold the relevant permanent office while establishing   a joint liaison body which will make necessary adjustments between the two offices in order to drive the whole scheme forward.

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