Light Down (Campaign to Reduce Electrical Use)

 The G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit will begin next week. We can look forward to vigorous discussions between world leaders to tackle and solve a pile of issues facing the international community, such as soaring crude oil prices, skyrocketing food prices, and economic downturn.  Tottori Prefecture’s administration is planning to take the lead in the light-down campaigns as a measure to contribute to environment protection.

Promoting the No Plastic Bag Campaign

 In order to promote No Plastic Bag campaigns, which we have discussed in the eastern, central, and western regions in Tottori as an environmental conservation measure, we decided to establish No Plastic Bag Day in November and carry on the campaign all across Tottori Prefecture. I hope local enterprises and consumer groups will join us in these efforts.

Measures against Graffiti at Tottori Sand Dune

 The graffiti problem, which has been featured in the news recently, also affects the Tottori Sand Dune. We are making vigorous efforts to have the Tottori Sand Dune designated as a World Geopark site. It is essential that graffiti be prohibited there.  We hope to have the final draft of the relevant regulatory ordinances and seek the judgment of residents in Tottori soon.

Visit to Brazil and the USA

 I went to Brazil in order to participate in various events commemorating the 100th anniversary of immigration from Japan to Brazil. I joined the activities of the Tottori Prefecture natives’ association in Brazil and visited 2a Alianca Tottori Village.  Also, during my visit to the USA, I had an amicable talk with Governor Douglas of the State of Vermont regarding the promotion of exchanges on the private sector level.  Furthermore, I met Ambassador Shinyo, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, and expressed to him that the international community must act in collaboration in order to resolve the abduction issue (of the Japanese nationals by North Korea).

Results of Reinvestigation for Proper Accounting

 As announced yesterday, improper accounting procedures were discovered within the prefectural administration. It is indeed unfortunate, and we have taken immediate measures to rectify the situation. These recent cases are not incidents of off-the-book funds, but rather are failures in reporting or otherwise dubious bookkeeping.   The aim of this reinvestigation is to disclose the accounting managed by the prefectural administration staff other than public funds to the residents in Tottori Prefecture. From now on, we will take measures in order to eradicate improper accounting of public and other funds.  This measure is Tottori Prefecture’s unique effort aimed at transparent accounting, which no other local autonomies have done.

Q. You mentioned enacting ordinances prohibiting graffiti at the Tottori Sand Dune. What kind of ordinances do you have in mind?

 They will be designed to be effective based on provisions stipulating penalties. I want to propose the ordinances in the prefectural assembly’s September session at the earliest.

Q. Let me ask about the ship service across the Sea of Japan. The operator requested Tottori Prefecture and other local autonomies to subsidize fuel costs for services. How does Tottori Prefecture propose to deal with this issue?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that Tonghae City’s Deputy Mayor and DBS Cruise Ferry’s Vice President visited Tottori Prefecture’s administration last week and provided a rough shipping schedule,) We need to have talks with Gangwon-do side. I don't think soaring oil prices are grounds for subsidization. Instead, in consideration of the importance of the ship service across the Sea of Japan for economic development, we should decide how to construct a collaboration framework while assessing its initial costs.  We will dispatch a delegation of working level officials to Gangwon-do soon in order to collect information. Furthermore, we will confirm our basic stance before the visit of the Tonghae City Mayor to Tottori, which is scheduled for the end of August.

Q. Is the complete fund-raising of 5 billion won as subscription a requirement for commencing the construction of the temporary terminal? What kind of conditions are you thinking of setting with regard to the commencement of the work?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that, considering the recent high crude oil prices and the weak won, by some estimates it will take 7 to 10 billion won as capital to maintain the ship service for several years,) The fund-raising of 5 billion won is a requirement, which has been set by the South Korean government for the launching of the service. On the other hand, if the service is launched next February, the deadline for the commencement of construction will be set around autumn, at which stage some general judgments will be made.

Q. With regard to the oil prices, demands from local fishery operators for direct compensation are piling up. Do you have any ideas for dealing with the fishery issue?

 The issue of fuel oil markets should be solved by intergovernmental negotiations by world leaders at the summit talks. It is not unreasonable to ask the national government for drastic measures to aid the fishery industry.  Having said that, we have set up a task force within our administration. We will continue to hold dialogues with local fishery operators in order to develop amicable support measures for them.

Q. Regarding your visit to Brazil, the administration spent a considerable amount of money to dispatch a large delegation. Concrete significant results may well be expected. What are your thoughts on that?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that the delegation consisted of 16 people including prefectural assembly members,) This time such a large delegation was organized in order to commemorate the 100th anniversary. In addition, we were divided into several groups in order to go to different destinations and that’s the reason for the inflation of the number of the delegation. In the future, especially with regard to official visits to distant countries, we will take drastic revising measures such as establishing a limit to the total budget or narrowing down the number of delegation to form an expert minority team.

Q. With regard to the issue of global warming, what are the thoughts of Tottori Prefecture’s administration on the around-the-clock operation of convenience stores?

 (After the reporter’s mentioning that there is a move among some local governments to request convenience stores to refrain from operating around the clock,) In my opinion, it’s advisable to encourage the convenience stores in some way to reconsider their current operation. There is room for debate over whether to enact regulatory ordinances or to ask them for voluntary cooperation.  Tottori Prefecture is different from more urbanized areas and I feel somewhat odd about the around-the-clock operation here. On a global level, this sort of situation is quite rare. Local convenience stores in Tottori are participating in the conference for No Plastic Bag Day, and this issue is worth discussing.

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