National Rich Sea Creation Festival

 For the 31st National Rich Sea Creation Festival (as tentatively translated), which will be held next year (in Tottori), we sought out ideas for the mascot and festival slogan. And we chose one of the ideas and created the main character which represents “a healthy cheerful child in the motif of a crab and flatfish.” As it doesn’t have a name yet, we will invite the public to offer a name for the character. As for the slogan, we decided on the catch phrase “Tsukurouyo minna ga egao ni nareru umi (Let’s make a sea that will make everyone smile).”
 We will seize the opportunity provided by this festival and publicize the great abundance of marine resources and rich nature in Tottori Prefecture. We will proceed with the preparations for the festival with this newly created character and slogan at the heart of the campaign.

Initial Budget Compilation for Fiscal 2010 and Organizational Change

 We decided to compile the initial budget amounting to 334.5 billion yen. The budget scale is smaller than last year’s by a little more than 1 percent. In combination with the supplementary budget presented in January, we compiled this budget to cover a period of 15 months.
 The small reduction is due to the estimated decrease in tax revenues by 5.2 billion yen compared with last year. In financial terms, however, the local tax allocation will reach 2.6 billion yen, and the bonds for the extraordinary financial measures 3.8 billion yen, which will make up for our reduced tax revenues mentioned above. But there would be no doubt that the large-scale reduction of public investment across the country had an impact on it.
 In regard to the public investment, combined with our supplementary budget presented in January, we could minimize the decrease rate to a little more than 3 percent, compared with last year. Although its decrease rate stands at 17.5 percent in the initial budget, we utilized the budget presented in the prefectural assembly’s special session in January in order to compensate for it.
 We will also make some organizational changes. In order to improve our capability of planning out and implementing policies across our administration, we will create a new post called “Toukatsu-kan (director-general).” This service member will be commissioned to effectively control the vertical organizations across the prefectural administration and push forward with various projects.
 In addition, we will proceed with a variety of organizational changes, such as establishment of a division in charge of the Geopark issue or an independent section for international tourism, or creation of an organization engaged in measures against new-type flu or infectious diseases.
 Our budget compilation for the new fiscal year was aimed at allocating sufficient budgets so that we can enable Tottori Prefecture to mobilize Tottori Power, regional strength, and human resources, and prepare ourselves as the administration to function in flexible collaboration with such forces. Now we are planning to establish funds for the purpose of creating and promoting Tottori Power. We are also thinking of using the management gains in order to support private activities conducted within the prefecture.

Schedule, etc.

 Next week, we will hold an administrative discussion meeting with municipal mayors. I hope to exchange opinions about the issues toward the new fiscal year.
 Today we will launch a research association for electric cars (Tottori Prefecture’s Joint Research Association for Electric Cars in the New Generations; as tentatively translated). We are planning to create a joint platform with not only the efforts of the prefectural administration but also the understanding and support of 11 companies and organizations.
 Next week, we will hold the conference for vitalization of regional economy in order to revise the vitalization plan. In this conference, we will try and lay out plans to encourage companies to establish or expand their business facilities, in line with the economic growth strategy for the new industrial structures in Tottori Prefecture, exemplified by solar energy, eco-friendly cars including electric ones, and the combined industry of welfare and agriculture.
 Tottori Prefectural Police Headquarters and Tottori Prefecture will conclude an agreement to try and eradicate gangs and acts of violence. Such agreement between the prefectural police department and administration toward eradication of gangs is the second case nationwide. The signing ceremony will be held on February 8.
For the “Stop Tuberculosis Tottori Conference - National Tuberculosis Prevention Conference (as tentatively translated),” which will be held on March 18 and 19, we will accept applications for participation until February 26. As an admission ticket is required in order to enter the venue, Rika Hall in Torigin Bunka Kaikan, the applications are encouraged. With the support of volunteers and relevant parties of tuberculosis prevention, we will do our utmost to make this conference a success.

Q. Will you be a little more specific about the “Toukatsu-kan”?

 We are planning to make it a directorial-level position. After the abolishment of the position of treasurer, some assembly members pointed out in the assembly session that this could cause the functioning of the prefectural administration to weaken. I have been developing an idea on this issue, and now I think that appointing two vice governors is excessive in the case of Tottori Prefecture. With a view to promoting administrative reform, I doubt it’s a good idea to adopt a two-vice-governor system and create two large vertical structures within the prefectural administration.
 Therefore, I concluded that it would be the best possible solution to create a post at the directorial level engaged in regular service, and commission the appointee to control each division, conduct planning and adjustments, and drive the prefectural administration forward. I have this kind of principle in mind in creating the post of “Toukatsu-kan,” in order to boost the prefectural administration’s capability for planning and implementing policies.

Q. Am I right in thinking the post as a head of the urgent project teams? Will he or she take over the duties of the former treasurer?

 I’m planning to appoint a staff member who is capable of heading the project teams. Until now, I, the vice governor, and the treasurer headed the teams alternately in a role-sharing system.
 I naturally expect the appointee to assume the role as the top leader of the project teams. I’m also thinking of assigning the director to the tasks which were conducted by the treasurer, such as measures related to DBS Cruise Ferry or employment.

Q. How will you go about selecting the appointee?

 I will select an individual among the personnel of the prefectural administration. I will soon work on choosing a specific person, and I should choose someone whose superiority is acknowledged by other directors.

Q. Regarding the eradication of gangs, why did you choose this timing?

 As is often the case for every company and organization, I think, even if you want to take measures against gangs, it’s difficult to obtain pertinent information. The said agreement will enable the prefectural administration and police to share information.
 In relation neither too close nor too remote with this agreement, we will propose the ordinances in the prefectural assembly’s February session for the purposes of putting certain limitations on gang members’ access to or use of public facilities, participation in biddings, and execution of contracts.

Q. With regard to the public investment, will you give us your perspective toward the future?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that the financial situation of the national government indicates that it’s extremely unclear whether it will be possible to compile a 15-month budget in fiscal 2010 or the fiscal years after 2010, like Tottori Prefecture did this time,) Although we haven’t made final decisions yet on how we will respond if the public investment is drastically reduced in the next fiscal year, we will think primarily of making certain requests to the national government, or considering certain measures as the prefectural administration in order to ease the drastic changes.

Q. General Secretary Ozawa (of the DPJ) was exempted from prosecution. Do you think that he has fulfilled his accountability obligation adequately?

 I think the public poll is posing a very clear answer. Even though the case has been dropped, it doesn’t mean that his accountability has been met.
 Before criminal responsibility, political responsibility will be an issue, as a matter of course. In order to fulfill this political responsibility, it will be necessary for him at least to provide clear explanations to the national public, in particular, and exert his efforts to remove doubts, if any.

Q. How do you think France’s policy toward tuna fishing will affect Sakai Port (in Tottori Prefecture), which is the key port of the vessels fishing Pacific bluefin tuna?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that France announced its support for banning the international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna, whose resource amount is on the decline,) We need to closely monitor the development. The primary question is whether the catch of tuna will be limited as a global trend, as in the case of whales. Since the situation surrounding Pacific bluefin tuna is still not so severe as of now, we are not expecting that the fishing industry in Sakai Port will suffer a huge impact at this stage.
 However, the trend of world opinion is surely a concern, and we will also monitor the condition of fishery resources.

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