Message from the National Governors’ Association President
My name is Kamon Iizumi, and I am the governor of Tokushima Prefecture. I was appointed as president of the National Governors’ Association this past September 3.
I am the first governor to be chosen from Shikoku and from a prefecture with a population of less than one million, and I was recommended by 30 governors. While this is a great honor, I recognize the serious responsibility it entails.
Today, Japan faces two difficulties: a shrinking population and the fact that it is a natural disaster hotspot; and as we head toward an unknown future to which conventional wisdom does not apply, including the rapid advancement of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, economic globalization, and the accelerated transition to a low-carbon society on a global scale, the National Governors’ Association is called upon to unite with the other six regional government organizations, serving as a compass for a world that lacks direction in these matters.
Accordingly, the National Governors’ Association will be focusing its efforts on three key agenda items.
The first will be partnerships and harmonious relationships between major metropolitan areas and other regions.
The National Governors’ Association is often viewed as a forum that represents the voices of smaller cities and rural areas in opposition to the major metropolitan areas. However, the governor of Tokyo, the region where demand for lumber is the highest, became leader of the Japanese Lumber Use Project Team that was launched in response to the concrete block wall accident that occurred during the June 2018 northern Osaka earthquake, and the governor of Kochi, which is the main lumber-producing region, became the team’s deputy leader. This team was responsible for coordinating new policies to promote making outdoor walls out of Japanese lumber instead of concrete blocks. By taking advantage of the respective characteristics of each major city and region, 47 prefectures are going to be united in their efforts to propose new prescriptions.
The second item is to strengthen the Association’s policy formation and policy advisory functions.
Although regions outside the major metropolitan areas are the first to suffer from low childbirth rates, population aging, and other numerous problems, those same regions are also at the forefront of solving those problems. The National Governors’ Association will coordinate the various advanced measures implemented by each region, establishing stronger policy formation and policy advisory functions on the assumption that local knowledge is part of the solution. The Association will thereby be able to offer sound prescriptions for those problems at the national level.
The third item is to improve the public visibility of the National Governors’ Association.
At the recent National Governors’ Association convention held in Toyama, each governor served as a panelist the day before. Discussions took place on the topic of utilizing the advanced technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as IoT, big data, AI, and robotics, and much attention was focused on the next day’s Toyama Declaration, which incorporated regional revitalization for the Society 5.0 era. We will hone our public relations strategy and raise our profile as the National Governors’ Association in order to increase the Japanese public’s awareness of these contemporary issues.
As the president of the National Governors’ Association, I am committed to taking a hands-on approach and adopting the public’s viewpoint. As an association of governors that shares responsibility with the national government and is more actively involved than ever, we will work together with the government to overcome national problems and to bring about the revitalization of Japan. I would ask for your understanding and cooperation to that end.