The Federation of Iwate Chambers of Commerce (Director: Kunihisa Yamura, the director of the Morioka Chamber of Commerce) held their annual meeting with the Governor on January 16th at a Morioka hotel. Directors of nine chambers of commerce talked about the state of their regions as well as the issues they face, as Governor Takuya Tasso responded to each issue in turn with his own comments.
About thirty people were in attendance, including directors, vice-directors, and secretary-generals of the nine chambers of commerce, Ms. Atsuko Fujisawa (Director General of the Iwate Department of Commerce, Industry, Labor, and Tourism), and Ms. Tsuyoshi Takahashi (Director of the Iwate Management Support Division). The directors gave presentations about issues in their regions, as well as the initiatives of their chambers of commerce. Kitakami’s chamber talked about improving roads that would support industrial development in the south of Iwate, while Oshu talked about employment levels and improving management skills in local businesses. Hanamaki’s chamber talked about increasing usage of Iwate-Hanamaki Airport, while Ichinoseki talked about the construction of a new Sasanoda tunnel.
Recently, Taiwanese airline Tiger Air signed a memorandum with the Iwate government to bring flight service to Iwate-Hanamaki airport. Vice-director Sasaki of the Hanamaki Chamber of Commerce asked for more of this sort of activity. He also asked for National Route 4 to be enlarged to a 4-lane road, and for initiatives that would bring more doctors into the prefecture. Director Sato of the Ichinoseki Chamber of Commerce talked about the construction of a new Sasanoda tunnel on route 343 that would link Ichinoseki to Rikuzentakata City. “With this tunnel, we could lure more visitors into the inland areas whenever a cruise line stops at the Ofunato port. It would also make transporting ILC parts more convenient. We’d appreciate if the prefecture would allocate some budgetary resources towards looking into this.”
Governor Tasso talked about the recent memorandum signed with Tiger Air Taiwan, saying, “I think we have made a large leap forward in getting our first international flight service. Getting more foreign tourists to come through Hanamaki Airport will be a boon to Iwate’s industry and tourism, so I’d like to proceed forward with the private sector and government working together to increase usage.”
Regarding the new Sasanoda tunnel, he said, “It has been a challenge securing a reliable budget for the project, and we must confirm the effects of the tunnel and efficiency of investment. It is crucial that we keep an eye on the progress of the ILC as we move forward.”
Regarding making National Route 4 a 4-lane road, he said, “Improving National Route 4 is absolutely crucial to the Kitakami river region with its large accumulation of industry. We will continue to work with related parties to petition the national government start working as quickly as possible to improve the stretch between Kitakami and Hanamaki.” He also talked about ILC, “The project will greatly contribute to the development of the region and our reconstruction. This year is an important year for the project, so I’d like to put my efforts into petitioning the national government and other efforts that would support its realization.”