Snowfall Damages

 We got our first glimpse of snowcaps on Tottori’s Mt. Daisen and Mt.Hyonosen in Tottori Prefecture, letting us know that winter is on the way. The downside is that some damages due to snowfall were reported in Nichinan Town (in Tottori Prefecture). We will organize a support system with local parties.

Application for Registration in Global Geopark Network

 We obtained approval from the Japan Geopark Committee to apply for the entry of the San’in Coast Geopark into the Global Geopark Network. We are very happy about this development. At the same time, we are sure that enormous efforts will be necessary in order to move on to the next stage.
 Yesterday, during the intervals of the Kinki Bloc Governors’ Association’s meeting, I had talks with Hyogo Prefecture Governor Ido and Kyoto Prefecture Governor Yamada on some specific steps that we are going to take regarding this issue. For one thing, we agreed that our 3 prefectures will jointly establish a secretariat. As the representative for Tottori, I agreed to dispatch our prefectural staff as of November 16 to the office for the promotion conference on Geopark-related issues, which is to be set up in the Tajima Citizens’ Bureau of Hyogo Prefecture. We will appoint staff as rapidly as possible in order to start preparation for implementation of the plan for the application, which is expected as soon as next December.
 On November 14, we will hold a promotional event in Tottori City toward entry (of the San’in Coast) into the Global Geopark Network. We are planning to ask a guest speaker from Shimabara (Peninsula in Nagasaki Prefecture), which has been registered in the Global Geopark Network, to talk specifically about efforts made for the registration. We will also hear a presentation by the students of Iwami Nishi Elementary School. We will ask Hyogo and Kyoto Prefectures to participate in this event as co-organizers.
 In addition, we hope to provide the participants with opportunities to visit the (San’in Coast) Geopark for an on-site review. A network of assembly members has already been established over the three prefectures, so we are planning to combine this event with the promotion campaign for (the registration of the San’in Coast into) the network conducted by the assembly members.

Meeting of Kinki Bloc Governors’ Association

 In the meeting of the Kinki Bloc Governors’ Association, which I attended yesterday, we reached an agreement that the governors of the Kansai Region should jointly take action against various movements by the new national administration.
 With regard to the concept of the East Asia Community promoted by the new national government, I suggested at the meeting that the Kansai Region should take this trend as an opportunity and utilize the areas along the Sea of Japan as one frontline. The Kyoto prefectural governor expressed a similar concept, and I believe that consensus has been reached among almost all relevant prefectures.
 A number of ideas were also exchanged concerning the Organization of Kansai Unity. I said that Tottori Prefecture will make an even examination of its advantages and disadvantages in order to make decisions. The discussion revealed that the governors of the Kinki Bloc were greatly split on this issue. However, I think that the final adjustment will progress in the future with each prefecture presenting its own ideas.

Food Capital Tottori Prefecture in New York

 Last week in New York, we held a promotional campaign for Tottori Prefecture’s local products. On October 27, we made requests to Japan’s UN Ambassador Takasu for the resolution of the issue of abductions by North Korea. In reply, Ambassador Takasu referred to the plan to summon (the relevant parties of) North Korea to (the meeting of) a human-rights-related organization scheduled for the end of this year in Geneva in order to pursue this issue.

Audit Results by the Board of Audit

 There is one issue for which all of us across the prefectural administration need to express regret, and that is improper accounting. This issue was deliberated yesterday in the meeting of the Kinki Bloc Governors’ Association. Opinions ranged from the idea that the Board of Audit’s way of auditing is a bit too unilateral to that Tokyo sets too early a deadline for accounts, and various discrepancies in opinion seemed to emerge from a number of regions. I admit that such problems do exist, and I said that it will be necessary to make relevant requests to the national government in the future.
 On the other hand, we need to reexamine compliance to standards of accounting within the prefectural administration. I will convoke an urgent executive meeting today expressly for this purpose.
 Within the month, we will draw up the policies and start to reestablish compliance. We will make complete corrections to any skewed or improper accounting.

Schedule, etc.

 Tomorrow, the “National Amamo (eelgrass) Summit 2009” will be held in the western part of Tottori Prefecture. There are a number of other events also in the works.

Q. Regarding the Board of Audit, can you be more specific about the opinion of “too early a deadline” and the “discrepancies” in opinions voiced?

 In the case of independent prefectural projects, it’s naturally permitted to leave the unnecessary portion of the budget unused and carry it over into the budget for the next year. In the case of projects involving the national government, however, we are ordered to close the accounts at such and such amounts by around January, and we have no choice but to follow the order. We have to make it clear to staff that it’s acceptable to leave the budget unused. Since Tokyo sets too early a deadline, the accounting becomes rigid, and accounts end up getting rebalanced between the current and next fiscal years (for the purpose of clarification) as the fiscal year draws to a close.

Q. You said that you will make relevant requests to the national government. What, specifically, do you have in mind?

 I will request that Tokyo make allowances for leaving the unnecessary budget unused. I will urge them to abolish the practice of setting the deadline for accounts at a date prior to the end of a fiscal year.

Q. Tottori Prefecture has already established the guideline for (account) compliance, but you said just now that you will draw up the relevant policies within the month. Does it mean that the previous guideline will be modified?

 I intend to reconstruct the previous guidelines from scratch. Although there is a conflict of views regarding (the standard for determining what constitutes) improper accounting between us and Tokyo, we have to reexamine and reestablish the relevant compliance guidelines completely.

Q. Panasonic initiated a takeover bid for SANYO today. Do you plan to take any response measures in the prefectural administration?

 As of now, all we can do is monitor the development. As soon as the bid is completed, we will need to let both Panasonic and SANYO know about our local situation and make requests. I ordered the relevant divisions to make needed adjustments with Panasonic and SANYO in preparation for making the requests

Q. Specifically, how do you plan to persuade them (Panasonic and SANYO)?

 While we need to monitor how the takeover bid will develop, it would naturally be required to effectively and comprehensively utilize the technical capabilities, appealing products, and strong human resources cultivated by SANYO Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd, which is the largest company in the region (of Tottori).
 I hope that they will secure regional employment by utilizing such business resources effectively. We will convey to them that we are willing to think up a series of measures and offer active support if we can support them as a region while they work on development of new products. I think it’s important to seize this timing and convey our regional intention to their top management.

Q. Concerning the vaccines for the new type flu, how do you plan to deal with the vaccination for test-takers from now on?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that the national government says it’s difficult to set aside a specific number of vaccines for students taking an entrance examination, contrary to Governor Hirai’s intention,) Although there may be some institutional limitations, we will use currently available vaccines ahead of schedule for the vaccination. Just tomorrow, we will start vaccinating patients who are hospitalized for underlying diseases, using vaccines for the new-type flu.
 On November 14, we will start vaccinating pregnant women. We have a good chance of procuring all the necessary vaccines. We are working on it and have been managing to squeeze out vaccines sequentially. As for those to be used from tomorrow, we intend to use the vaccines which were to be supplied to medical service workers in order to vaccinate patients with underlying diseases first, who urgently need it.
 Vaccines for the flu will be supplied to us by the national government sequentially, too. While monitoring how many vaccines Tottori Prefecture will be able to procure, we will deal with this issue positively.
 As for test-takers, there are a very limited number of “ronin” (students who failed to get accepted at a university of their choice and are seeking another chance), compared with third-year senior high students, so we are confident that we will be able to secure the necessary amount of vaccines. I hope that Tokyo will be flexible about the measures they take. We have to be patient in getting our requests to the national government.
 For the moment, I believe that all we must do is launch the vaccination measures calmly and smoothly, with a view to vaccinating a wide range of prefectural residents.

Q. How do you perceive the misappropriation of funds by the managing director of the social welfare corporation, “Asunaro-kai”?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that Tottori Prefecture could not detect it in spite of the periodical audit the prefecture had conducted once every two years, and pointing out that the checking system might have been loose,) It’s necessary to look into the system once again. Unfortunately, I think the social welfare corporation’s side is primarily responsible for this issue. However, we, the prefectural administration, also need to improve our methods for periodical audits in order to make them more effective.

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