The Iwate-Miyagi Inland Earthquake

Concerning the Iwate-Miyagi Inland Earthquake, I would like to pray for the ten dead people and express my sympathy to the survivors. I also pray that those who are missing will be discovered as soon as possible.

Issues in High School Special Studies Courses

 Tottori Prefectural Assembly’s regular May session has been brought to a close. The session was dominated by a heated discussion over the key issue of prefectural high school special studies courses (for university entrance examination). According to the results, the program in Tottori Higashi Senior High School will be closed next year. The others in Kurayoshi Hogashi Senior High School and Yonago Higashi Senior High School will be preserved for another two years, subject to the prefectural assembly’s debate. I think that we should also engage in deliberations and make arrangements with private preparatory schools.

Regulation of Daggers

 A vicious crime involving a dagger has occurred in Akihabara, Tokyo. We must draw a lesson from this unfortunate event. I ordered each division to come up with possible preventative measures. First, under Tottori Prefecture’s ordinance for guidance and protection of juveniles, I decided that the sale of daggers to juveniles should be prohibited, and made the relevant orders to put this into effect as soon as possible.  In accordance with the Ordinance for Promotion of Town Planning for a Crime-Free Tottori Prefecture (as tentatively translated), which was approved today, the decision has been finalized for a promotion plan for preventing crime in Tottori Prefecture to be compiled. In the context of this plan, we have begun a deliberation to include provisions for requesting that business sectors take responsibility for countermeasures against such violent crimes as mentioned above, as well as to prevent the recent chain of hydrogen sulfide related events.  We are going to revise the regional disaster prevention plan in today’s prefectural disaster prevention conference. We intend to stipulate in the plan the countermeasures against disasters related to hazardous material such as hydrogen sulfide. In this manner, we will continue with measures in order to promote town planning for a safe and sound Tottori Prefecture.

Appeals to Tokyo for Early Solution of North Korea Abduction Issue

 Japan’s national government held a meeting with North Korea, in which the Korean side stated clearly that it will reinvestigate the abduction issue, which I think is a certain step forward. However, the focal point is whether or not the reinvestigation will yield any substantial result. We must see to the return of all the abductees including Ms. Kyoko Matsumoto (of Tottori). I will convene with relevant officials including Cabinet Advisor Kyoko Nakayama and make appeals to the national government to enhance its response capabilities in order to realize the complete solution of the abduction issue as soon as possible.

Visit to Brazil

 On June 21, a ceremony will be held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of immigration from Japan to Brazil, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Among the attendees are Japan’s Crown Prince and parties representing relevant Japanese prefectures, including 10 governors.  Tottori Prefecture will dispatch a delegation in order not only to honor the hardships endured by the immigrants from Tottori Prefecture, but also to raise Tottori's profile.  In addition, we will visit 2a Alianca Tottori Village in Brazil and travel to New York in order to meet the Japanese ambassador and the JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) staff, in the hope of exchanging opinions about such issues as the cultivation of the American market.  Furthermore, we will visit the State of Vermont in the USA, with which Tottori Prefecture has been enjoying interchanges on a private level since 2000, in order to meet Governor James Douglas and exchange a memorandum for the expansion of interchanges in the future.

Q. In response to the random murder case in Akihabara, will you ban the sale of daggers to juveniles in Tottori Prefecture?

 The ordinance for guidance and protection of juveniles of Tottori Prefecture contains provisions which restrict the sale of weapons, which will apply to this case. These provisions stipulate the restriction by designation of the Governor. So I will initiate the designation after deliberation by the investigation committee. This is a time-consuming procedure, but I will try to conduct the designation proceeding at as early a juncture as possible.

Q. If the ban on sales takes effect, will all sales be absolutely prohibited regardless of purpose?

 In the case of juveniles, any merchant selling weapons to them will be subject to severe penalties.

Q. Regarding the investigation into the issue involving reuse of blood collecting puncture devices, it’s thought that the prefecture should proactively disclose the results no matter what they may be. What are your thoughts on this matter?

 (After the reporter’s argument that the situation regarding the said reuse in healthcare programs organized by municipal authorities have been investigated by the prefecture as requested by the national government although the prefecture has consistently declined to disclose the results, that the results of the investigation into healthcare programs conducted by the prefectural administration have been disclosed; however, the administration initially refused interviews with news media and made the relevant announcement after a week-long delay, which was considered to be an inadequate response; the prefectural administration insist they should not reveal the content of  investigations that fall under the jurisdiction of the national government although they are finalized by the prefecture, and that the prefecture has opened up inquiry counters.) Since the needles for the blood collecting device have not been reused, infection problems are highly unlikely. However, I apologize to the residents of Tottori for the fact that the same caps of the device were repeatedly used after disinfection. We will sincerely address this issue through consultation services and so on.  The prefectural administration independently surveyed medical institutions with regard to the recent use of these devices, and the results have been made public. During the process of investigation we were requested by the national government to complete a wide-ranging series of inquiries and we are in the process of tallying the results. As this is a commissioned investigation from the national authorities, we need to proceed with the tally in accordance with the national government's requirements while confirming the facts with the relevant medical institutions and municipal authorities. I see no reason why we will not be able to disclose the results once this procedure is complete. However, it may take some time because of the necessity for adherence to national requirements in the process.

Q. Would you briefly summarize what you hope to achieve through your visit to Brazil?

 I would like to visit 2a Allianca Tottori Village, where the first settlers from Tottori Prefecture and those with ties to the Tottori Prefecture natives' association decided to reclaim the land and put forth their best efforts in fulfillment of the goal, and to commend those concerned for their pains in those early days.  After 100 years, their descendants in Brazil are on the road to general prosperity. I hope to offer them more support than ever and deepen the ties between Japan and Brazil, which will lead to Tottori Prefecture’s development as a region.

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