Construction of Safe and Secure Region

 I’m concerned about a series of devastating incidents that have occurred recently. A string of suspicious deaths have been reported in Tottori Prefecture. The body parts of a woman (who is a university student) in Hamada City in Shimane Prefecture has been found in the mountains of Hiroshima. As for the incidents in Tottori, I hope that the prefectural police will solve the cases as soon as possible.
 Concerning the unsolved taxi robbery case (that occurred in Tottori City), I exchanged ideas with Tottori City’s mayor in order to assure the security of taxi users. We need to keep an eye on various places from now on in order to develop safe and secure regional communities.

Gun Battle between North and South Koreas

Yesterday an exchange of fire broke out between North and South Koreas on the Yellow Sea. The actions of North Korea are hard to understand, and it’s necessary to urge them to cooperate with the international community.

Supplementary Budget to be Presented in November

 In light of the harsh economic climate extant in Tottori Prefecture, a variety of measures are needed for safety and security. The prefectural assembly’s regular session will open on November 24. Our administration will propose a supplementary budget amounting to about 9.1 billion yen.
 The budget that we propose will include the expansion of the emergency medical ward in Tottori University Hospital, in response to requests, and the equipment upgrades necessary for doctors to board and utilize the prefectural helicopters designed for fire defense and disaster safety, as an alternative to medical helicopters.
 In addition, we will propose a number of measures in view of the industrial developments of our new age, such as the implementation of research and development for the practical use of electric cars.
 We will also propose a pay revision for the prefectural staff. As it needs to be implemented on December 1, we will convoke the prefectural assembly’s special session on November 17.
 We are planning to suggest that we should cut 0.16 month’s worth of bonus for the staff and that the salaries of the managerial and higher-ranking staff, including the staff in the special service, be reduced by 3%. We made both these decisions in light of personnel commission recommendations and available data.

Requests to National Government regarding Expressway Construction

 A meeting of prefectural governors will be held in Tokyo on November 19, in order to promote the construction of the primary expressway traffic network. Nine governors have announced their participation and all are planning to put requests to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
 Although public investment is predicted to be significantly reduced, some primary expressways have yet to be constructed. The national government should take responsibility for the construction. It will cost less to construct these expressways than the ones in urban areas, and they are necessary in cases of emergency or disaster. It will behoove us to have the expressway network connected for various reasons. We will make our policy proposal to urge Tokyo to assign a high priority to the implementation of this project.

Schedule, etc.

 In relation to the Global Geopark Network, Tottori Prefecture, Tottori City, and Iwami Town will jointly hold a promotion conference for the entry (of the San’in Coast) into the Global Geopark Network this weekend. A number of events are planned for November 16, including a discussion meeting with the parties involved in the publication of “Yazu no aji (Tastes in Yazu: a book written by residents of Yazu district in Tottori Prefecture, which introduces local cuisines there).”
 The game of Gainare Tottori (a professional soccer team based in Tottori) scheduled for this weekend is also one of my concerns. They have three more games to get through. I’ll be cheering for them in the stadium and I hope the players will put forth their best efforts to win all of the games.

Q. Regarding the meeting of the prefectural governors for the expressway construction, will you name the nine governors?

 Although the adjustment is still under way, it will be the governors of Yamagata, Fukui, Wakayama, Tottori, Shimane, Tokushima, Kochi, Ehime, and Miyazaki Prefectures. I will join forces with many prefectural governors and make requests to Transport Minister Maehara.

Q. Have any texts of the requests been finalized yet?

 I think that the final adjustment is ongoing at this stage. One of the points is the suggestion that Tokyo take the responsibility for constructing primary expressways which remain to be completed in the primary expressway traffic network.
 One of the supporting reasons is the low cost for the construction. The average construction cost (of expressways) in the 9 prefectures is 17 times less costly than in urban areas. That means that 17 kilometers of expressways can be constructed in these regions at an expense required to construct 1 kilometer of expressways in urban areas. We will emphasize the point that an efficient budget implementation is possible in our cases.
 In the case of Tottori Prefecture, all the expressways which remain to be completed are relatively cost-effective. But the dominant opinion among other prefectures is that the evaluation should be made on an unbiased basis regardless of cost-effectiveness, which we will reflect in the requests.

Q. Will the San’in Expressway be the target road in case of Tottori Prefecture?

 We will also include the roads such as the Tottori-Toyooka-Miyazu Expressway in the requests.

Q. Regarding the taxi robbery case, what kind of ideas did you exchange with Tottori City’s side?

 We talked about the possibility of installing security cameras in and around taxi stands.

Q. The liaison and promotion council for the improvement of Lake Nakaumi’s bank protection and the like will be convoked on November 12. How does Tottori Prefecture intend to deal with this bank protection issue in the future?

 I expect the meeting held on November 12 will focus on the bank protection. However, in order to move on to the next step, that is, reaching an agreement on commencement of the works, it will be necessary to discuss a slightly bigger picture.
 I predict that as circumstances change over time, Shimane Prefecture will seek for our opinion about an agreement on the commencement of the works, and Tottori Prefecture is frequently holding negotiations with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
 We have notified the MLIT of our stance on the necessary works such as the improvement of the bank protection, and their reply is soon to reach us. We intend to examine the details of the reply in order to finalize our decisions.

Q. In relation to the flu vaccination, there was a report of improper conduct by a hospital in the western part of Tottori Prefecture. How do you perceive this case and what steps does the prefectural administration intend to take to deal with it?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that a doctor of the hospital neglected the order of priority for the vaccination and vaccinated a staff member’s child relatives,) this incident is a rare case. The medical institution did so at its own discretion, but the extra vaccines should have been passed on to other doctors by right. It’s necessary to abide by the order of priority as strictly as possible.
 On the other hand, I have the impression that the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is not paying enough attention to the actual situation at the working level in dealing with the related issues. I hope they will communicate more with working-level staff throughout their procedures, or rather leave everything to the working-level personnel.
 For example, the amount of vaccines allocated to Tottori Prefecture this time is far smaller than originally planned. It seems that domestic vaccine production is failing to keep up with the demand nationwide, and the amount allocated ends up being reduced. While decreasing the supply amount, the MHLW abruptly demands that certain categories of people should be vaccinated on a priority basis. It’s a rather unprofessional way of handling the issues.

Q. Has the prefectural administration got any information about occurrence of similar cases?

 No, we haven’t. We are in agreement with the (Tottori) Medical Association that extra vaccines should be passed on among hospitals and clinics for (necessary) vaccination. This system generally functions (without incident), and the aforementioned improper conduct is a rare case. At any rate, we will give thorough guidance to relevant parties.

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