Place: The Foreign Correspondentsf Club of Japan
Good afternoon, ladies
Thank you for kind
introduction. It is great Honour for me to be here and make a speech
Correspondentsf Club of Japan is very memorable place for me as I have
made a speech twice previously. This is my third speech to the Club.
I made the first
speech in June 1981 when I was a Student of Hitotsubashi University. I
wrote my first novel titled gNan to naku Crystal,h or gSomewhat Like
Crystalh in English, which describes young Japanese in a materially
affluent society. The novel became a million seller so I was then invited
to The Foreign Correspondentsf Club of Japan. That was more than twenty
Last May I had my
second chance to be here as the youngest governor in Japan.
As you may know,
my present title is different from my previous title .
Today I am standing in
front of you one of candidates of the Nagano Prefectural Gubernatorial
First of all, let me
I was born in Tokyo in
1956. I am 46 years old now.
As my father became a
professor of psychology in Shinshu University, we moved to Nagano in 1964,
that was when the Tokyo Olympics were held. We first lived in silk city,
Ueda for two years, then we moved to Matsumoto city, entrance city to
Kamikoch. I lived there for nine years where I graduated from high
school. My parents live in Karuizawa town now.
along the backbone of Japan, Nagano Prefecture is surrounded by ,what are
known as, the beautiful, as well as steep, Japanese Alps.
prefecture is the fourth largest prefecture in the area after Hokkaido,
Iwate and Fukushima with 2.2 million people living there.
There is no
sea, but Nagano Prefecture embraces a number of water sources from which
the Shinano River, Tenryu River and Kiso River run to the Pacific Ocean
and The Sea of Japan.
word to describe the characters of Nagano people is gdiligent.h
rate is the lowest in the 47 prefectures in Japan. The ratio of job offer
to job seeker as of June, 2002 was the 11th highest in 47
prefectures, which is an improvement when compared with the data for July
ratio, elderly peoplefs working ratio and womenf working ratio are the
highest in Japan.
Average life span
is the longest for men and the fourth longest for women. Medical cost per
person is the lowest. The ratio of hospitalized elderly people over 65
years old per one hundred thousand is also the lowest in Japan.
We have a famous
expression to describe life of our elderly people, gPin Pin Korori.h gPin
Pinh means healthy and energetic . gKororih means gdieh.
The elderly people
living with their families are free from hospitalization and work in the
fields until their final day then they die peacefully. The Ratio of
elderly Nagano people dying at home not at hospital is the highest in
So we have an
ideal ageing society in Nagano
Nagano is located
inland and is an agricultural prefecture. It is the No.1 producer of
vegetables such as lettuce, asparagus, celery and mushrooms. It also
produces delicious apples.
The prefecture is
proud of itfs industries. Approximately 30% of the prefectural GDP comes
from manufacturing industries. Many IT related companies are located here.
Seiko EPSON Corp. which is world famous for its printers is one such
high-tech company whose headquarters are located in Nagano.
The total length
of highways is the fourth longest in Japan. In respect of IT, the ratio of
householders to join CATV is the second highest in Japan.
I was elected
Governor in October 2000 and was only the fourth Governer to be elected
since the Second World War. Apart from the first Governor all former Vice
Governors took over from their mentor Governors on their retirement.
In October 2000, I won the gubernatorial election by a difference of 110
thousand votes. Many regarded the former Vice-Governor as the natural
successor to the Governor.
There are 120 municipalities in Nagano Prefecture, and nearly all of the
mayors, all assembly members, except the communist party, supported the
former Vice-Governor. Just 3 weeks before the gubernatorial election
campaign period, I announced my candidacy for the governorfs office.
and local governments have huge debts of up to 800 trillion yen. Nagano
Prefectural government is in a poor financial situation. To be exact it is
the second worst prefecture after Okayama from the point of view of bond
When I started
working as Governor Nagano was in a poor state. As of fiscal year 2001,
it had 1.65 trillion yen debt even though its annual budget is
approximately only 1 trillion yen. The budget for the previous 6 years had
been in the red year on year and contingency funds had to be used to
balance the books.
After the bubble
economy, other prefectures reduced their public engineering works, but
Nagano was different from others. Nagano hosted the 18th Winter
Olympic Games in 1998 and spent twice as much as the budget on Olympic
related public works This has led to the present financial crisis.
In view of that I
decided to cut public works to the 1998 level that being the last year of
the so-called bubble economy.
According to the
Japan Association of Representative General Contractors, over the next 10
years the working population for constructing and building industries will
be halved. However, the government has not shown effective counter
measures to increase jobs.
of No More Damsh concept prompted many people to seriously consider
environmental problems. But that Declaration has a much wider influence
with more serious implications. It also aims at post-materialism.
dams insisted that giant dam projects provide benefits to local
economies and the majority of cost is covered by national government. Is
About 80% of dam
constructing costs is paid to general contractors who are based outside
Nagano. Subsidies from the national government amount to 72.5% of the
total cost. This compares with local constructing companies getting
approximatly only 20% of costs but local people are having to pay 27.5% of
the cost through tax. It is clear that we local people get less and yet
pay more. Dam projects donft benefit local economies but they are instead
contributing to the Tokyo economy.
Asakawa Dam and
Shimosuwa Dam were planned to be constructed not far from downtown of
Nagano city and Shimosuwa city. The majority of people in Nagano
prefecture are against the two dams. Several press and TV companies
conducted surveys of people living near to those two rivers. The
results are more
or less the same, two-thirds of them rejected the dams. Local residents
want non-dam projects. They want the finances for river improvements and
fostering forest on the upper reaches of the rivers with local small
constructing companies undertaking those public works.
As far as Asakawa
dam project is concerned, the constructing cost is 40 billion yen and half
of the cost has already been spent, however actual dam site construction
has not yet started. Actually, the half cost was spent in building a huge
loop bridge that connects downtown Nagano and Bobsleigh avenue for the
inauguration to Governor, I visited Susuki River in Matsumoto city where
the Obotoke Dam was planned. I had a meeting with residents, and following
that I decided to cancel the dam. Strangely enough, no assembly members
who are dam constructing advocates protested against it.
Why is this? It
is because before my inauguration, the ruling parties recommended the
government to cancel more than 270 public projects. Obotoke dam is one of
The ruling parties
did not investigate sites of those projects, but they simply made a list
of projects to be cancelled and announced it.
members obeyed the announcement of the government and rejected the one
proposed by the Governor. This is really symbolic of the fact of Japanese
When I decided to
run for the governorfs office, I announced that I would suspend projects
like Askawa dam which many citizens are against and feel unhappy about
having a different view from private companies and the public sector. It
seems that the public sector will not suspend projects even though
people in charge of them know future of those projects are catastrophic
like the famous battleship gYamatoh in the second world war. Once a
project starts, the public sector cannot think alternatives.
Last May after I
issued the gDeclaration of No More Dams,h the Assembly proposed a
regulation named gNagano Prefecture Flood Control and Irrigation Dam
Examining Commissionh and approved it. In accordance with that Regulation,
I set up an examining commission consisting of professors, specialists,
representatives of the assembly and mayors. After more than one year
intensive and open deliberation, it submitted reports concerning Askawa
and Shimosuwa that we should take the river improvement plan rather than
the dam plan. I received the reports and said I would respect them. The
assembly except the communist party made a protest against my decision
saying that I had ignored the proper processes and they could not accept
subsequently approved the Regulation. I then set up the Dam Commission
which was made up of representatives from each political party. The
Commission concluded itfs deliberations and submitted their final agreed
reports to me which I received and said I would respect them.
If that process
cannot be regarded as gdue process of law,hI would ask what is gdue
process of law?h
I have been
associated with this kind of assembly members for 1 year and 8 months.
During the current
assembly session, I showed an alternative flood control scheme mixture
with river improvement and fostering forests. Then I set up a special
force to carry out the scheme.
Nagano gubernatorial election, some foreign media reported that gThis is a
critical election to decide the future of contractual reform of Japan.h
On the other hand, the Japanese press have taken a sharply different
stance about this election and have criticized my management and
personality. I suggest that they may treat me unfavorably because I have
criticized the Japanese press club system by issuing a gDeclaration of
Departure from the Press Club Systemh
I have not heard
of any local authorities who have returned subsidies from the national
government as a result of the cancellation of public engineering projects.
However, the Assembly members were incorrect when they said that the
Nagano prefectural government will be required to return at least 40
billion yen subsidies to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and
Transport. Some Japanese media did not check these facts and reported only
the comments of the Assembly members .
The Assembly and
the Japanese press have criticized me saying that I have done no more than
prepare the gDeclaration of No More Damshwhilst in office
I would like to
explain what I have done during my period in office
Nagano is a
mountainous area and 80 % of that area is forest. This resource can give
us huge benefits such as clear water, clean air and timber. It can
protect us from natural disaster and reduce carbon dioxide in the air. I
have put emphasis on maintaining and improving forests since taking office
so that the budget for forestsf improvement is now 1.5 times greater than
in the fiscal year of 1999.
We need to change
the industrial structure. I say this because we cannot be dependent on
either national government or public works projects in the future such as
huge dams and highways.
Because of this I
started a special programme named theh Shinshu Woodcutter Courseh which is
designed for those who would wish to train to maintain forests as Forest
Engineers. This programme consists of 100 hours of lectures and is
provided free of charge. Once successfully completed, people will be
entitled to apply for forest maintenance work. More than 700 residents
took this course and over 20% of forest maintenance work was subsequently
contracted out to non-forest union companies.
for constructing companies of Fkukushima prefecture started a social
welfare course for construction workers of their member companies. This
course entitled workers to take care of elderly people. Powerful blue
collar workers taking care of elderly people is a very strange
combination. However it is anticipated that the construction industry
will shrink in the future so that workers in those industries need to
retrain now to other labour intensive industries such as taking care of
elderly people and maintaining forest.
I increased the
budget on social welfare for people with physical disabilities, learning
difficulties or psychological difficulties in 2002. To be exact the budget
increased by 1.4 times more than last yearfs budget.
I also introduced
smaller class sizes with 30 students per teacher in elementary schools
this year. I also increased the number of nursery school teachers. The
reason why I put more emphasis in this area of education is that I wanted
to create more labour intensive business models in the field of gsocial
welfare, education and the environment.h
In addition, I
think we need to put more money and energy into the field of
gmanufacturing, agriculture and tourism h which are our main industries .
industries started before the Second World War with the silk industry .
subsequently independently developed and changed without financial support
from local government to precision industries such as watches and musical
boxes. Now IT related manufacturing is main stream in our area.
was once called the g Switzerland of Orient g essentially because of the
beautiful natural environment we maintain and live in and precision
industries which have been developed here. For instance most watches made
in Japan are actually produced in Nagano prefecture.
As to Global
Warming I believe that Nagano should follow Sweden in the 21st century.
chairperson of Seiko EPSON Corp. is president of the Nagano Association of
Business Leaders. The association as well as researchers and NPO members
submitted a report on proposals for dealing with theh greenhouse effecth
and called it the gNagano Modelh in May of this year.
Let me introduce
some proposals of that report.
complete following targets,
greater use should be made of Solar Energy. All of elementary schools,
junior high schools and high schools in Nagano Should introduce 10kw solar
energy system and desks & chairs made of wood.
guardrail for roads should be used more.
of drinking bending machines will be halved.
business should independently produce a plan of action designed to
counteract reducing Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere by 6%, to set targets
and to ensure that they are met.
In addition this
report encouraged me to walk to and from work until I lost the position.
There are many
business leaders considering and acting independently in Nagano.
I think Japan
needs to learn from European post-materialism practices (rather than
American materialism) where environment and business management are
already working towards being compatible with each other. Nagano should
learn the philosophy of post-materialism and we need to achieve it. In my
view Nagano deserves a prefecture that has gKamikochih and gKaruizawa.h
I described myself
as an gUltra Non-partisanh governor.
gubernatorial election was held two years ago and it was reported as
gBureaucracy vs. Citizenh by the Japanese media. However I have not
mentioned it. The reason is simple. Each of the bureaucrats is a citizen
who loves their families and has housing loans. But they are obliged to
work as part of a giant machine. They show loyalty to their bosses and to
the organization that employs them. The question that arises is, gAre they
Assembly members who repeatedly visited the former Governor to ask for his
favours might be victims of the system.
inauguration, the Governorfs office was located on the third floor. In
order to reach there, people had to go through many doors both physically
and psychologically. It was a completely closed world. Ordinary citizens
did not know what kinds of things were done there. Mayors and Assembly
members were also victims of the system. However, at the same time they
were allowed to enter the room and shared secrets with the Governor.
When I created a
crystal Governors room people began to realize that it is not only a
Governors office but also everything else was open to the public.
Previously they believed that a money oriented pyramid structure would
exist forever, but the crystal office destroyed that illusion and made
All the proposals
and legislative initiatives including appointing Mr. Kono, victim of the
Matsumoto nerve gas incident, as a member of the Prefecturefs Public
Safety Commission I had put before the current Assembly had been passed
and this showed that my reform policies had been gunderstood to a certain
extenth by Assembly members.
approving them, the Assembly submitted a no-confidence motion against me
and approved it by majority of 44 to 5.
The reason why
they rejected me it is said is because gGovernor Tanaka put priority on
completing individual ideals rather than protecting citizenfs lives and
property, and ignored the need to build mutual understanding with mayors
and the prefectural assembly. Mr.Tanaka accepted only those people who
understand his philosophy, his management of the government is poor and
self-righteous. As a result, the policies are not carried out smoothly and
people are confused. He betrayed the citizenfs expectancy. He should take
responsibilities for that. That is why we submitted a no-confidence
They insisted that
my taking office made Nagano stagnant and chaotic. I would ask whether
they really believe that 40 yearsf of bureaucratic government before me
could be described as gliberal and prosperous?h If they believe that they
do not understand the views of the public at large.
gubernatorial election has attracted attention throughout the nation.
After the election, an election for the Assembly members will be held next
April. At that time the assembly members will know what the general public
think since it will be reflected in the ballot results.
The 60 Assembly
members receive a total of two hundred and thirty million yen annually
besides their salaries to cover the cost of their examination and
research. But, they are not required to submit receipts for any payments
they incur. They can use taxpayerfs money freely without being monitored
by the citizens. So I have repeatedly requested that the Assembly members
should make public how the money is used. I had an expense account and I
used it only for printing business cards and telegram fees. Of course I
opened the accounts to public scrutiny.
office, I tried to make governmental information open to the people as
much as possible. This resulted in the ranking of the Nagano prefectural
government information openness going up from 41st to 3rd among
As necessary I
paid the cost of meeting with economic scholars and specialists to discuss
how best to manage the Nagano prefecture. In my view the Assembly members
should be reimbursed only for actual expenses. They travel to Bangkok and
Paris every year to see Tourism Industries or Advanced Management of
Administrative Services at a cost to the public purse. Can you imagine
what kind of activities do they do in Bangkok from morning to night?
Actually I am laughing. I think this kind of waste should be abolished.
Most of the
current Assembly members are presidents or executives of constructing
I think the
Assembly meetings should be held at weekends so that engineers and NPO
members are able to act as Assembly members. There are 30 electoral
districts for the Assembly members. In 10 districts out of 30 the Assembly
members were elected without any actual voting.
At the next
election I hope ultra non-partisan citizens run for all of the 30
districts and I will support them. Only then will democracy in Nagano be
Politics does not
mean business being conducted behind closed doors and finances being kept
critics said that I should have dissolved the Assembly rather than losing
my position and running for it again. This is a much too superficial view.
The Prime Minister is elected from members of the Diet by the Diet
members. If the members ordered the Prime Minister to step down, he should
surrender to it or dissolve the Diet. That is reasonable.
however, a Governor is elected directly by people and Assembly members are
similarly elected by the people. I have a strong will to continue carrying
out my reform programme. But, the Assembly ordered me to step down.
Therefore I decided to let the people of Nagano Prefecture decide whether
I am suited to continue to be their Governor.
Thank you for your
If you have any
questions, I will be very pleased to answer them.