Schedule, etc.

 The general election of the Lower House is finally coming up. I hope that Tottori Prefecture’s residents will solemnly listen to the political parties’ policies and candidates’ views, and cast a responsible vote in order to set the direction of our country’s future.
 On the other hand, lots of Tottori Prefecture’s natives have been doing particularly well recently, such as the archery club of Yonago Minami Senior High School (who won the National High School Championship in the girls’ team competition) and the soccer club of Yonago Kita High School (who took a second place in the National High School Championship). Also, Ms. Ayako Imoto (a famous Japanese comedian born in Tottori Prefecture) will run a marathon in “24HOUR TELEVISION/LOVE SAVES THE EARTH” (a TV program well-known in Japan). I will root for her.
 Today, the National Land Afforestation Promotion Organization will hold a general assembly and an administrative board meeting. In these meetings, it’s likely to be informally decided that Tottori Prefecture will host the 64th National Arbor Day in 2013, as we have been working toward. It will be announced this afternoon. Seen from the standpoint of the earth’s future, reduction of CO2 emissions will be a central issue. The year 2013 is the first year after (the expiration of) the Kyoto Protocol and we will send out the message of kicking off the initiative to open a new environmental era. In the current situation where primary industries such as agriculture, forestry, and fishery are beginning to draw attention, it’s expected that these industries will gain momentum in securing workers and promoting utilization of locally produced woods. Since it’s a prestigious national event, we will welcome visitors cordially.
 In Sayo Town in Hyogo Prefecture, extraordinary torrential rains claimed many lives and left many houses damaged. I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy (for the victims). In Tottori Prefecture, this disaster interrupted the train line of Chizu Express Co., Ltd, but thanks to the considerable efforts of the railway’s staff, their operations will be back to normal on August 29. However, in the aftermath of the disaster, the number of passengers (of Chizu Express) is decreasing. So we will start a promotion campaign this coming Saturday at 10:00 am in Osaka Station in order to publicize the resumption of operation of Chizu Express. In the campaign, we will seek and collect donations for Hyogo and Okayama Prefectures. On this occasion, we will hold a discussion meeting with our partner companies and a meeting for members of the fan club of Tottori Prefecture in Osaka, in order to send out the information about Tottori Prefecture’s presence in the Kansai Region.
 Our antenna shop in Tokyo, which opened last year, will commemorate its first anniversary on August 29. We will seize on this milestone anniversary and hold various events in order to draw attention to this shop once again. On August 29 and 30, we will kick off a campaign to distribute a new variety of Japanese pears named “Shinkansen” for free and set the mood. To further boost the mood, since I hear that Tottori Prefecture’s consumptions of curry and ketchup are larger than any other prefecture in Japan, in particular, we will plan discount sales of such products in the shop.
 If you were to ask me to summarize the past year, I would say that there was a concern about the gradually declining number of customers from the opening until around the end of last fiscal year, in particular. However, after this fiscal year started, the shop and the restaurant annexed to it are both doing great and increasing their sales to a large degree.
 I hope that the prefectural residents and the companies will continue to utilize our antenna shop, enhance the creativities of the industries, and make the most of the shop in order to open up a new market. The connections between our shop and other various restaurants and the buyers are beginning to be formed now. I hope that the shop’s operations will go into increase at a good rate. We will make plans for a big first anniversary event.
 Yesterday Mr. Tagir Khuziyatov came to Tottori from Russia as a regional correspondent of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) and I had a chance to have an intimate talk with him. In order to promote Tottori Prefecture in Russia, we will hold the “Tottori Week” campaign on and after September 6. We will sell the pears which were shipped last weekend in Russia and arrange the stage for the traditional arts performed by the students of Yonago Nishi High School. We are also thinking of holding a discussion with the administration officials of Primorsky Krai (of Russia). Moreover, we are planning promotion activities targeting the local media. I hope to see the ship service across the Sea of Japan flourish as well as the exchange between Primorsky Krai and Tottori Prefecture utilizing the ship service.

Q. Regarding the Lower House Election, it’s been reported that the LDP will suffer a crushing defeat and the Democratic Party of Japan will secure more than 300 seats, according to a series of survey predictions. What’s your take on it?

 It’s not appropriate for me to comment on it in this conference. All I can say is that this election is a rare opportunity for the national public to make choices on administration and policies, so I strongly hope that the public will solemnly listen to the candidates and their policies in order to make informed decisions on where to cast their precious votes.
 Since we are in charge of the prefectural administration at the working level, we will promptly prepare ourselves for the new framework of the national government after the election, whether it’s formed mainly by the current ruling parties or by the opposition parties.

Q. The results of the national academic achievement test in this school year will be made available to the public today. Have you received the information?

 I haven’t received an official version. I hear that it will be released this evening.

Q. It was decided after various adjustments last year that the test results for this year will be disclosed. As of this moment before the release, if the test results are disclosed, how do you hope the results will be utilized?

 The data is very detailed. Although it’s not yet clear what data is intended for the disclosure and what data is not, I think it reasonable to share the data among the school sector, parents, and the region in order for the parties concerned to draw up related measures.
 As so much money is spent on the national test, the results should not be monopolized by the educational sector but be shared by a relatively wide range of parties in order to be utilized for the improvement of academic abilities and children’s development.

Q. The antenna shop in Tokyo will soon commemorate its first anniversary. Will you summarize your evaluation of the shop for the past year in terms of the balance of payments and the original purposes of the shop?

 (After the reporter’s requesting that Governor Hirai should mention to what extent the expected subsidiary effects of the shop’s original purposes, such as sending out the information about Tottori or opening new markets, have been realized,) Since last April, both the second floor and the first floor have clocked sales of not less than 7 million yen (per month). In short, I feel that the business is getting off the ground. As for the balance of payments, it’s making do at a sustainable level, which is a relief to me. However, the shop has a potential to attract more customers. Tottori Prefecture’s administration is ready to be appropriately engaged in the promotions and utilization of the shop.

Q. Gainare (a soccer team based in Tottori) is making requests for public subsidy every year. Do you plan to propose subsidies to support Gainare in the supplementary budget to be presented in this September?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that Gainare remains on the verge of getting promoted to J2 in the J league every year,) Other than the amount of 70 million yen which will be procured from the fund in response to Ganare’s request, they have made no other request for subsidies.
 On the contrary, the number of spectators of their games is not enough for Gainare to be promoted, which needs to be addressed. I appreciate it if the prefectural residents will go and see their games and root for them.

Q. Now you expressed your intention to prepare yourselves after the Lower House Election. Will you be specific about what this means?

 It depends on the results of the election. As soon as the election is over, I should convoke an executive meeting. Although it may take some time for the framework of the new national government to be formed, uncertainty remains in any case. After the new regime is established, we will need to prepare ourselves in order to make requests from our side.

Q. Whatever regime is established, you will likely find numerous items of concerns. If you could pick a few items about which you are going to make requests to the new government, what would they be?

 (After the reporter’s referring to the decentralization and the infrastructure development such as construction of the San’in Expressway as the possible items,) One item will be the realization of decentralization. Each political party has compiled their policies on this issue from its own standpoint. To be honest, I feel that each of them has good points and bad points. After the new national government is formed, their specific policies will become clear, I think. We will focus on some targets in making requests.

Q. Do you mean the decentralization and the infrastructure development in regions (as the targets)?

 That’s right. We need especially to realize that we, Tottori Prefecture, are a region where investment is delayed. If I talk about the expressways, I may sound grasping and greedy, but we are demanding the very least, or what we call civil minimum. So the national government should be responsible for them. I believe that the residents in our region share this common understanding and we will need to make requests from this standpoint.

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