Supplementary Budget Plan for May

 Tottori prefectural assembly’s May session will open next week and we are now making arrangements for the bills. The supplementary budget we are going to present is on the scale of slightly more than 1.4 billion yen. The items include the revised budget following the unofficial approval by the national government with regard to road construction projects, support measures for fishery operators against soaring oil prices, the enhancement of self-supplied feed production system, and the carried-over expenses for the Festival of Japan in Tottori 2009 (as tentatively translated), which will be held next year.  Regarding the issue of support measures for bus services, which remains unsolved, we decided to take a little more time for deliberation while giving assistance to fare-paying bus services conducted by NPOs in underpopulated areas.  With regard to ordinances, we are arranging establishment of a conference of regional planning for safe towns and the Ordinance for Promotion of Town Planning for a Crime-Free Tottori Prefecture (as tentatively translated) , which is aimed at promoting measures for crime-free town development in collaboration with municipal authorities and private sectors.

Membership of the Kinki Bloc Governors’ Association

 The executive office of the Kinki Bloc Governors’ Association notified us that the membership of Tottori Governor will be officially proposed at the association’s meeting on June 6, which we welcome.  Under the current circumstances, where the main arteries of Tottori Expressway and Tottori-Toyooka-Miyazu Expressway are soon to be opened, connection with the Kinki Region is significant for Tottori Prefecture. As part of Greater Kinki, we need to promote tourism and economic exchange in the region.  Of course, our perception of Tottori Prefecture as part of the Chugoku Region will remain as before and I will participate in the governors’ association of the Chugoku Region and discuss the common issues in the region. The said governors’ association will establish a conference with participation of private business sectors at this session.

Reaffirming Compliance Aimed at Prevention of Improper Accounting

 The report concerning improper accounting at Tottori Prefectural School for the Blind is indeed regrettable. The Board of Education is outside the governor’s command, but I believe that they are taking various measures to rectify the situation.   This incident must be utilized to reaffirm compliance with regulations across the prefectural administration. We will examine the accounts of each and every department in the administration, other than official funds, and disclose the results, such as fairness of handling, to the local public, which is a measure that we pioneer in the national arena. In the process, I will order the officials at managerial posts to confirm and verify that there is no improper accounting conducted in their respective divisions. We will do our utmost to realize a trustworthy administration for the residents in Tottori.

Launching of the Ship Service

 With regard to the launching of ship service across the Sea of Japan, Treasurer Aoki met the executives of DBS Cruise Ferry yesterday and received their report on the current situation.  Briefly speaking, they explained to Treasurer Aoiki that DBS Cruise Ferry is presently moving forward step by step. They also said that they had already executed an agreement on May 14 to acquire a ship from Japan and had paid the deposit. According to their explanation, they want to take some time for deliberation regarding the investment, but the prospects seem brighter.  We also heard that they made some changes in management personnel. The company’s president, Mr. Park, became the vice president, and a gentleman by the name of Mr. Chae was appointed as the new president.

Q. Have you received any information about the consortium?

 DBS Cruise Ferry says the prospects look bright on their judgment, but we have not received any further details.

Q. When will the ship be acquired and when will the service be launched?

 If the ship is acquired at the end of November, we have every reason to assume that the service will be launched next February.

Q. What is your prospect on the construction of the temporary terminal in Sakai Port?

 It’s welcome news that a ship has been acquired, but there are still some issues to be addressed in order for the service to be launched. We will make decisions on whether to commence the actual construction after taking time to monitor how the preparation of CIQ proceeds on the Korean side, how the consortium will be organized, and if some kind of funding will be available in place of the consortium.  If the launching is presumed to be realized in next February, we don’t need to be in a hurry to start the construction. I feel that we have a plenty of time to deliberate the construction while watching how the situation will develop on the Korean side.

Q. What kind of data will you rely on in order to make the decisions?

 Information about how reliably and frequently the constructed terminal will be utilized. The ship has been acquired, but the operating company is not fully established. These are the points in consideration.

Q. With regard to the off-the-book funds, when are you planning to order the relevant investigations and when will the managerial officials make the declaration?

 We will start the investigations immediately. Tomorrow I will order the relevant departments to conduct their investigations and reaffirm adherence to the previous guidelines for compliance. During former Governor Katayama’s tenure in office, it was concluded that off-the- book funds had been identified and were no longer present in the accounts of the gubernatorial divisions, but now we need to confirm this. I think it’s necessary for us to bring light to all the accounts other than the official funds unlike other local governments, in order for our accounting policies to be more trustworthy to the local public.  It will take a while, but we will try our best to complete the investigations as soon as possible and I will order that the relevant officials make declarations in the procedure. It will take place at around the end of June.

Q. However thoroughly investigations may be conducted, as long as the problems are attributed to the quality of the officials involved, the problems will never be eradicated, will they?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that it was concluded that such problems had been eradicated by the investigations across the prefectural administration during Governor Katayama’s tenure of office) I agree with you. It’s not enough for the officials involved to make judgments on whether or not their accounts contain off-the-book funds. That’s why Tottori Prefecture’s administration will dare to compile reports on accounts other than official funds and disclose the contents of the reports to the local public, which no other autonomies have done. We will try to make the prefectural administration more and more transparent to the public. I think it’s the most effective preventative measure.

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