My name is Kiyoshi Ueda and I am the governor of Saitama Prefecture, appointed as president of the National Governors’ Association on April 17. In acknowledgement of the significance and role of the National Governors’ Association, I will commit myself to faithfully carrying out my duties and responsibilities.
The Great East Japan Earthquake devastated the economy of the Tohoku region which has had a cascading effect across the supply chain of the entire country. These state of events have demonstrated the extent to which the prefectures throughout Japan are mutually dependent and complementary to one another.
In view of this, the National Governors’ Association will focus on the following three agendas:
The first agenda is to promote self-sufficiency and self-respect in local governments.
According to future population estimates, over 30 percent of the population will be aged 65 or older in 2045, with some prefectures expected to pass the 50 percent mark in that age bracket by then. With the progression of the super-aging population, demand in local financial expenditure is bound to expand rapidly. A positive cycle of community pride and self-respect and having the will to be self-sufficient will further reinforce pride in community, which in turn will help to realize a true sense of local government. To accomplish this, we need to enhance local tax revenue and promote self-sufficiency and self-respect within local governments.
The second agenda is to share in the responsibilities of both the national and local governments.
Although the national government takes primary responsibility for overseeing major national infrastructure development, the local government should be responsible for areas such as welfare, health and medical services, and education, as it is positioned in close proximity to the everyday activities of its residents. Local governments need to make judgements and take a role in dealing with issues affecting their respective municipalities, and share in the responsibility of resolving issues with the national government. Going forward, we will assume our share of the responsibility for raising standards across Japan.
The third agenda is to get local governments to create their own models for revitalizing the local economy and spread them nationally.
Although the Japanese economy is on the slow road to recovery as a result of Abenomics, the benefits have not successfully trickled down to the local level. By leveraging the mobility, flexibility, and agility of the local governments, we will build a movement to solidly promote horizontal deployment of outstanding local models for revitalizing the Japanese economy.
Furthermore, we will unite our efforts in providing support for hastening recovery from large-scale disasters such as the Great East Japan Earthquake and Kumamoto Earthquake. We also aim to deliver a successful Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and show the countries that supported us how much their contributions have aided in our recovery from the disasters.
Lastly, in the midst of a dwindling population, there is an urgent need to explore how to strike a balance between urban revitalization and ensuring a peaceful everyday life for our residents. I ask for your continued guidance as we work to find a solution to this challenging issue and fulfill our obligations to future generations.
National Governors’ Association