Supplementary Budget to Be Presented in September

 The supplementary budget to be proposed in September is expected to cover the immediately necessary expenses for such items as the establishment of the council for the nationalization of Tottori University of Environmental Studies, budget increase for subsidization of medical care for children and the project of “Ani-Cul (Animation Culture) Festival” with a view to hosting the International Manga Summit; all this is expected to reach about 1.556 billion yen in total.

Preparation for Establishment of Greater Kansai Association

 The other day, when the preparatory council was held in Osaka Prefecture for establishment of the Greater Kansai Association, it was agreed upon that each of the relevant prefectures would propose the creation of the Greater Kansai Association in their prefectural assemblies to be convoked in September and engage in the discussions. In consideration of cost performance and the like, Tottori Prefecture decided to join the association on a partial basis, in such fields as tourism and culture, or wide-area medical services, and we obtained approval from the other prefectures to disburse about half the amount that each of the other member prefectures is supposed to bear as the general costs. I will propose the establishment of the association in the upcoming prefectural assembly in September and take part in the discussions.

Prefectural Task Force for Urgent Employment and Economic Measures

 As a response to further appreciation of the yen, we will set up the task force for urgent employment and economic measures within our administration and immediately start deliberation on the measures to be taken from now on. If necessary, we will consider additional budgetary requests to the prefectural assembly in the September session in order to put the employment and economy measures into action.

First Meeting of the Policy Strategy Council

 Starting from the compilation of the initial budget for fiscal 2011, we will revise the current multilayer budget approval procedure involving the Finance Division Director, the General Affairs Department Director and the prefectural governor, and adopt a new approach in order to draw up the budget proposals out of policy debates. Next week, I will convoke the policy strategy council for that purpose, review the opinions from each division on the policy challenges and the like to tackle in the next fiscal year, and set and confirm our direction for the future.

Sales of Pears

 The sales price of pears is higher by 20 to 30 percent than last year as of now. The situation is encouraging. The new varieties of “Shinkansen” and “Natsuhime” are also priced high. Both varieties show much promise and have a high sugar content.  In terms of crop yields, however, the yield amount of the Twentieth Century pears is expected to decrease by about 30 percent compared with average years, and urgent action is needed. We will listen to the requests from farming households or communities and propose the countermeasures in the assembly’s September session, such as encouragement and support for shipment of small pears, which were not shipped traditionally, or assistance related to agricultural mutual relief, for example.

Opening of Sakaiminato Branch Office of “Russian Pillar”

 Yesterday, the ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of the Sakaiminato branch office (in Tottori Prefecture) of the “Russian Pillar,” an organization composed of small and medium enterprises in Russia. Although the economic climate is extremely austere, we will look toward the future and actively promote economic exchange with countries on the mainland, including Russia, South Korea, and China.

Events during this Weekend

 Some industry-and-technology-related fairs are scheduled for September 3 and 4, such as Tottori Sangyo (meaning “industry”) Festival, and on September 4 and 5, the SEA TO SUMMIT (a sporting event consisting of kayaking, cycling, and mountain-climbing) will be held in the Mt. Daisen and Kaike area (in western part of Tottori Prefecture). I hope and expect that the SEA TO SUMMIT will contribute to Tottori Prefecture’s tourism policies, which highlight the theme of health promotion.

Q. In compiling the supplementary budget in September, what areas did you focus on?

 We put our primary emphasis on the measures against the decreased yields of pears. In consideration of the latest growth situation of the pears, we will enhance the countermeasures already approved in the supplementary budget presented in June to a great extent.  It’s also been decided that the prefectural administration will shoulder half of the expenses for the system development needed for the increase of the subsidies for medical care for children, which are included in our budget proposal as a necessary item.  In addition, the mandatory expenses needed for the council which is set up to nationalize Tottori University of Environmental Studies are included in the budget request, although their budget amount is not so large. We will aim to settle this issue through discussions in the upcoming assembly session.

Q. Next week, you are scheduled to meet and talk with the president of SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. Do you intend to request to the company for their continued business operation in Tottori Prefecture?

 Yes, I do. I’m planning to visit SANYO Electric Co., Ltd., together with the mayor of Tottori City and request that the company maintain their business in the current site.

Q. Regarding the establishment of Greater Kansai Association, what advantages are there for Tottori Prefecture, and how will this change life for prefectural residents?

 The Greater Kansai Association is sort of like a “federation,” which respects the situations of each autonomy, with relatively strong powers and authorities which make the association capable of requesting and taking over administrative tasks from the national government. This is an initiative to open a new stage of local autonomy.  As for the advantages on the side of the prefectural residents, tourism and medical services are especially important. If the Kansai Region is seen as a tourism zone, the inclusion of Tottori Prefecture in the Kansai Region is expected to have significant impacts on our tourism promotion in the longer term. With regard to medical services, we will also be able to benefit from advanced medical services and emergency medication, which Tottori Prefecture alone is not capable of providing.

Q. Did you include the expenses for installation of rapid chargers for electric cars in the supplementary budget this time? Do you think that the said supplementary budget will help put the chargers into wide enough use?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that the relevant municipalities are expecting the prefectural administration to take a lead in the installation,) In the supplementary budget to be proposed in September, we will suggest that the maximum amount of the budget per charger be doubled. If requested by the municipalities, we will also consider providing assistance for private companies or organizations which will be engaged in the installation. Before production of electric cars goes into full swing in our prefecture, we will proceed with a degree of environmental improvement measures so that Tottori Prefecture can be recognized as a leading prefecture (in the use and promotion) of electric cars.

Q. How do you perceive the presidential election of the Democratic Party of Japan?

 I hope that the party will reach a settlement as soon as possible and exert their efforts for the issues such as the soaring yen, economy and employment, which we are facing right now. Instead of ending up as a mere factional struggle, this election should work as an opportunity for thorough policy debates, I think.  As far as I read their campaign pledges, it’s not yet clear what kind of impact will be brought on our prefecture as a whole. I will watch carefully and monitor the development of the debates.

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