Message from the National Governors’ Association President

Message from the National Governors’ Association President

 

As Governor of Tottori Prefecture, I became President of the National Governors’ Association on September 3, 2021. My tenure began at a time of unprecedented adversity, with an explosive rise in COVID-19 infections and successive natural disasters. I will devote myself to fulfilling this very important responsibility.

In this national crisis amid the raging pandemic, we forty-seven governors are determined to fight with all our might together with the government, related organizations and citizens to protect the lives and health of the people.

   The next two years will be critical for our country and for local communities. Under the banner of “fighting COVID-19 to create a new Japan and hometown,” the National Governors’ Association will take up the challenges of opening up a new age to bring diversity, vitality, and peace of mind by focusing on the following three priorities.
 

The first priority is to tackle an unprecedented crisis.

With the hitherto unseen explosive increase in COVID-19 infections due to the spread of the Delta variant throughout the country from major cities to local communities we faced an unprecedented crisis that endangered the lives and health of the people. This is a crisis that we must overcome. At the same time, we are also facing more severe challenges than ever before, such as natural disasters and global warming, increasingly difficult living conditions amid the pandemic, the further decline of regional vitality, and the aging population and declining birthrate. We will mobilize all our resources to meet the great challenges posed by these overlapping crises.
 

The second priority is to create a new post-COVID era.

After the Black Death came the Renaissance, and after the Spanish flu epidemic came an unprecedented economic boom and the Jazz Age in the United States. Pandemics are not necessarily followed by dark ages. Now is the time to envision the post-COVID era and embark upon an age of restoring prosperity and peace of mind. We will promote regional revitalization, which will also lead to post-COVID recovery, and will open the way to the revival of industry and employment, a barrier-free society, and carbon neutrality. We will promote digital transformation and forge the future of the nation and regional communities, including the fostering of future generations.
 

The third priority is to contribute to society through a hands-on approach and close cooperation.

To meet these challenges, we are promoting reform of the National Governors’ Association. It is because governors are close to their communities that we can tackle issues with a hands-on approach. At the same time, working closely together gives us the power to overcome the difficulties we face. In the COVID-19 countermeasures, we have already made progress in strengthening coordination between national and local governments, including repeated negotiations with the ministers in charge, but through further decentralization we are aiming to create and realize policies that originate from the local communities themselves. To ensure we can make timely decisions in response to the pandemic, natural disasters and other crises, we will promote the activities of the Governors’ Association by video conferencing and collaborate not only with the government but also with various organizations, such as business groups and the Japan Medical Association, to build a platform for tackling issues with all the resources of Japan.
 

“Our duty is to behave in a way that brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people.”

Always remembering these words of Eiichi Shibusawa who contributed greatly to Japan after the Meiji Restoration, the National Governors’ Association will take up the challenge with all our might and strive to protect and revive our country and local communities from the unprecedented crisis of the pandemic, in close cooperation with citizens, the government, municipal authorities, and various organizations. As a Governors’ Association that fights together with everyone, we will steer a course to the new era together with all of you. I will do my utmost to become a catalyst for changing the times, working closely together with my fellow governors. In these endeavors, I ask your understanding, cooperation, and guidance.

Shinji Hirai
President
National Governors’Association