The National Governors’ Conference was held for the first time in Iwate at the Hotel Metropolitan New Wing in Morioka City on July 28th. The conference ended after gathering requests for the government budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which included items for science/technology development in regions outside of Tokyo. At the following press conference, Takuya Tasso, Governor of Iwate, talked about their achievements: “Iwate was able to convey a strong message about our reconstruction and disaster risk reduction efforts.”
The conference was attended by governors of 30 Japanese prefectures. In preparation for the realization of the ILC in Tohoku, participants added requests that would create zones where industry would cluster. One example was “Create an international hub of science and technology where skilled workers from around the world will gather.”
Another topic on the table was reducing the concentration of young people in Tokyo. The governors adopted a resolution to stop the growth of student capacity at universities, and to encourage them to move to areas outside of Tokyo. At first, the resolution stated that it would not permit any growth in student capacity in the 23 wards of Tokyo, but Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike objected, saying that this would take away the freedom to study where one likes. Thus, the wording was changed from “stop growth” to “try to restrain growth.” Regarding the integration of constituencies that straddle the border of Iwate, a resolution was adopted to ask the national government to promptly come up with solutions ahead of the 2019 House of Councillors election.
At the following press conference, Kyoto Prefecture Governor Keiji Yamada attended with Governor Tasso. He stressed that, “We will support the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami until true reconstruction is realized.” He indicated that they would continue to support the area through sending support staff from their own government.
Requests for government budgeting will be made at related ministries and other national institutions in August. The next National Governors Conference will take place next summer in Hokkaido.