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The 74th ‘Smile Message' from the Mayor (January 8th)

Each month, the mayor prepares a message directed towards the councillors of city hall. As this message is openly available in Japanese to be read by the people of Miyakonojo, it has been translated here in order to openly demonstrate the current beliefs and intentions of city hall, its councillors, and our Mayor.

January 8th (Tuesday)

Happy New Year everyone. I hope that everyone made the most of their time over the New Year period, and enjoyed the company of their family, friends and relatives.

To begin with, I would like to give you all my thanks. Between December 6th and 23rd, voting was undertaken for the latest Miyazaki prefectural governor, and as much as this surely added further to an already full workload, I would like to sincerely thank you all for undertaking it diligently. Currently, elections for the Miyazaki Council members is scheduled for April, as well as elections for the House of Councillors slated for July. In order for fair and honest elections to be undertaken, I ask for you to continue as per your efforts thus far.

Now then, looking back on last year's city hall, beginning from the understanding of our citizens, thanks to the support of everyone working here, I believe we have managed to make significant progress on a number of plans that were put forth. As such, I would like to once more extend my thanks to all of our staff.

The Kanji that I've chosen to be representative of last year is 心 (kokoro/shin, mind/heart/spirit).

As to why, firstly, during April of last year, the wonderful Mallmall was established as a place in the heart of our city where a large number of our citizens meet, and became a place that the young and old alike can make use of. It has only been a mere 8 months since it first opened, and yet as of January 6th, the library has seen 890,000 visitors, Purepika 99,000, and Mallmall in its entirety a total of 1.48 million, exhibiting from its onset that it is fully realizing the intended concept that ‘A place of rest = A place to gather'. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks for your efforts.

Further to this, as I have regularly conveyed regarding ‘heartfelt greetings and interactions' since being inaugurated, we have begun to feel that gradual and continual improvement (kaizen) thanks to the efforts of everyone, and as of May last year, as a means of further improving the level of service we deliver to our citizens, the layout of the service windows of this building's first and second floors all went under renewal. In regards to the arrangement of our receptionist staff, it is now even easier for our citizens to make use of their services, producing an even more comfortable environment. As such, it is for these reasons that I decided that 心 (kokoro/shin, mind/heart/spirit) was the Kanji to use to represent the previous year.

Other than this, in September, the sub-arena at Hayamizu Park was completed, allowing not only for additional local tournaments, but also expanding the possibility to holding further national tournaments. In regards to Shibushi Highway, extensions out to the Umekita and Kanemidake Interchanges were opened in February, with the Ariakekita, Isakida, and Ariakehigashi Interchanges opened in March. These projects are a signpost of the wide and varied work undertaken last year.

Furthermore, in addition to these projects, there is continuing work on the ‘3 Treasures of our city' that allow our city to shine, that is, ‘Farming, Forestry and Animal Husbandry', ‘Advantageous Location', and ‘Children Overflowing with Human Potential', as well as work on many of our other plans such as ‘Support For Our Children and Child Raising', ‘Supporting the Coexistence of Work and Child Raising', ‘Taking Citizen Services to a Higher Level', and ‘The Further Promotion of Public Relations between our City and the Wider Public, and as a result of this work, in Toyo Keizai Inc.'s ‘2018's Ranking of Japan's Most Livable Regions' last year, Miyakonojo was once again ranked the highest in Miyazaki Prefecture for the 4th year running, receiving a very high evaluation.

Now then, speaking to the coming year, there are a large number of shops that will be coming to the area surrounding Mallmall, and as this will produce a fun and entertaining environment for the even greater influx of people to the area, I believe we can expect the bustling nature of our city's heart to grow in and of itself. In addition, in regards to the developments of the Prefectural Track-and-field Arena, while continuing to work alongside the Prefecture in moving forward, the reclamation of Miyakonojo Interchange Industrial Park's Sakuragi district continues to proceed smoothly.

Finally, in terms of pushing these works to even greater heights, and in regards to ‘Southern Kyushu's Place to Be: The Establishment of a Leading City' and ‘A City Overflowing with Happy Faces: The Realisation of the Smiling City of Miyakonojo', I hope that I can count on everyone's utmost efforts in meeting and surpassing the challenges that lay before us.

As everyone is well aware, the Heisei Era will be coming to a close as of the 30th of April. There have been numerous and various good and bad things that have taken place throughout the Heisei period, but for me personally, as I graduated high school at the beginning of the era and moved away from Miyakonojo as I proceeded to university, began working, returned to Miyakonojo as Vice Mayor as of Heisei 19 (2007), and presently, am undertaking work in my hometown as its Mayor. As such, between the ages of 18 to 48 as I most completely climbed the stairs of adulthood, I have felt strongly the impact of Heisei's 30 years. I also believe that everyone here also has their own memories and feelings regarding the occurences during the Heisei period.

Meanwhile, during the press conference that took place during the celebration of the Emperor's birthday, simply listening to his words regarding the nation's people and his deep affection for her majesty the Empress made me feel deep in my heart that the Heisei era was a brilliant and magnificent era.

And so, as we turn to face what will truly be a new age in the coming year, this year will also be the year of the Boar. As this is the same zodiac under which I was born, even more so than usual, with respect to ‘Southern Kyushu's Place to Be: The Establishment of a Leading City' and ‘A City Overflowing with Happy Faces: The Realisation of the Smiling City of Miyakonojo', I intend to bring my fullest in challenging these ideas, and I hope that everyone will join alongside me with even more spirit than ever.

It may not be last year's buzz word, but with regards to meetings of the Mayor's office, as I can often be found simply saying ‘that's right, that's right', I hope that I can move forward with an attitude where I'm not ‘zoning out and not living'.

Well then, to conclude the first message for this year, I hope from the bottom of my heart that everyone has a happy and wonderful 2019.

For inquiries in English, please contact: City of Miyakonojo, Internationalisation Promotion Office, Address: 6-21 Himegi-cho, Miyakonojo-shi, Miyazaki-ken, Japan 885-8555

Phone (Domestic): 0986-23-2295

Fax: 0986-23-3223

Phone (Intl.): (+81) 986-23-2295

Email: intl@city.miyakonojo.miyazaki.jp

A speaker of English is generally available Monday-Friday from 8:30 A.M. ~ 4:30 P.M. Japan Standard Time. Please understand there may be times an English speaker is unavailable. Please note that the information contained on this website is intended for citizens of Miyakonojo City. Please direct questions regarding matters such as health or tax in other cities to the appropriate local government.