22:13 | 08/07/2019

Interview: Mayor of Kashihara

(Construction) - Kashihara is a city located in the southern center of Nara Prefecture. Known as the ancient capital of the Fujiwara-kyo nobility from 694 to 710, Kashihara was founded on February 11, 1956. Through many incidents, however, this city has achieved many achievements, especially in community and urban development.


Kashihara-jingu temple

On the occasion of the journalist mission in Japan, reporter Khanh Phuong had a quick interview with Mr. Yutaka Morishita - the respectable mayor who was elected in 2007. The content was as follows:

Reporter: Can you tell us the main features of Kashihara city?

Mayor Yutaka Morishita: This place was the first capital of Japan, the land that the first Emperor lived. So far Japan has experienced 160 emperors. Kashihara has a total area of more than 39.50 km2 with nearly 123,000 people. Population density is about 3,176.79 km2 and there are a number of tourists. Average GDP is about 3,500 billion yen.

This is a city with many precious relics, so there are certain tourists, though not as expected. On weekdays, tourists visiting the city are international visitors, while weekends are domestic tourists.


A view of Kashihara city

Through ups and downs with many events, the city of current appearance as today is not simple. The city had to step by step affirm and reach its self-reliance. Fortunately for the city, compared to many other Japanese cities, where it is less affected by aggression wars, there are many conditions for development. This land is rarely affected by natural disasters, so people's lives are quite peaceful.

Reporter: Known that you are the Mayor of this city for more than 10 years, as the leader of the city government, how do you advocate the policy of urban development for your city?

Mayor Yutaka Morishita: I love my city. The people here too. We respect the preservation of cultural identity. Therefore, any construction work must consider carefully how to not affect the existing structures. We strictly enforce construction rules. At the same time, the city spends a lot of resources to consult local and international experts as well as to respect community opinions. Anything must respect citizenship. If they are wrong, persistently explain. If they are correct, then definitely absorb.

In addition, we also look forward to promoting external resources, such as developing environmental friendly tourism in a positive way. Encouraging local businesses to develop together and support each other to create a strong development momentum. A strong city with strong businesses and strong communities are all together. Therefore, for more than 10 years as Mayor, I have sometimes made reckless decisions, dare to think, dare to do, dare to enforce to pursue the prosperity of this city. Although there are many difficulties, we do not falter, but determined to overcome the barriers and challenge the good in the front. With the desire to spread the goodness of the city to international friends, we have been implementing many cultural exchange sponsorship programs for international students, including Vietnam. Recently, there are many Vietnamese students who are sponsored by the city to exchange and learn each other. Through this activity, hopefully international friends and Vietnam will know more about Kashihara City.

Reporter: Yes, with reckless decisions and strategies in the management, you must have encountered many difficulties, especially difficulties facing with the community. So how did you overcome this difficulties?

Mayor Yutaka Morishita: There were many difficulties that we had to step by step go through. There are still many challenges, but we will not give up. We definitely find a way to overcome.

It is true that I have made reckless decisions, typically building a complex of administrative and commercial links. It is the construction of Condo Hotels Kashihara hotel in which some of the lower floors are for the city's administrative work, while the upper floors are for hotel business.

This is the city's first project as a successful Japanese model of the PFI (also known as PPP public partnership). Initially there were many criticisms of experts as well as objections of the people. But thanks to patience and seriousness, the city finally reached an agreement and effectively enforced it.

In fact, since the construction of this complex, investors and tourists have known Kashihara more and more. While the community also benefit the most. We preserved some room for community meeting and health activities. The reception area is clean, beautiful as a 5-star resort. People come here to be welcomed warmly and enthusiastically supported. At first, the community were doubtful, but later they realized the goodwill of the city and so they were most cooperative. When people understand the government's care, they are very excited and grateful to the city. Thereby creating a friendly, peaceful and happy environment that covers the city.

Come to our city, you don't have to worry about anything. The city is clean, tidy, without criminals. Night travel absolutely safe. Previously, I used to work as a doctor, my hope that the city will have more and more hospitals for medical examination and better treatment for the people. The most desirable one is that everyone can live in peace and happiness, so I was a candidate and becam Mayor until now.

There are many stories but in short, the leader must be assertive with reckless thoughts. Once decided, be patient and act from the heart. Once you have plunged, persistently pursuing, then all difficulties and challenges will be a small thing.


Mr. Luong Chien Cong (left) - Lai Chau City Chairman gave gifts to Mr. Yutaka Morishita - Kashihara City Mayor (right)

Recently, the number of tourists coming here has increased. Nobody knew Kashihara before, but the city has left many impressions for domestic and international friends. We adopt a policy of preserving the identity of the ancient relics area but encouraging the application of digital technology so the number of tourists who come here has a sense of convenience and comfort. I believe this model can be replicated in other cities in Japan and the world.

Reporter: Yes, thank you very much for taking your time to welcome the delegation. We are grateful for that. Wish you lots of health and prosperity to care for the city!

By Khanh Phuong

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