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"DAWN" Newsletter of The DAWN CENTER


MS. FUSAE OHTA, GOVERNOR OF OSAKA PREFECTURE

In February 2000, Ms. Fusae Ohta was inaugurated as Governor of Osaka Prefecture. The election of a female governor, as there are very few local heads and assembly members in Japan, holds great significance for promoting women's participation in politics. As the first women governor among the nation's 47 prefectures, she attracts great attention from inside and outside of the country.

Soon after her inauguration, in her administrative policy speech to the Osaka Prefectural assembly session, Governor Ohta gave three fundamental goals toward the new century. The first is constructing "Active City, Osaka." She plans to rehabilitate prefectural finances by tapping new industrial fields which will encourage higher standards of living, hasten the structural reform of Osaka industries, and restore the prefecture's competitive power in the international market. The second goal is constructing "Kind City, Osaka." In order to build a city in which all residents, including the elderly and handicapped people, can live in safety and comfort throughout their lives, Osaka is promoting a plan emphasizing the construction of a resource-recycling society and the concept of universal design from the perspective of being kind to the environment and to people. The third goal is constructing "International City, Osaka." By strengthening the global network such as with Kansai International Airport, and forming connections which open Osaka up to the world, the prefecture hopes to contribute to the international community. Governor Ohta is making the utmost efforts toward the realization of these fundamental goals.

As economic globalization proceeds, in order for the regional economy to regain vitality and show sturdiness in the international marketplace, it is important for the community to tackle industrial policies including support to entrepreneurs. With this aim, Governor Ohta presented the "Osaka Industry Rehabilitation Program" in September, 2000, which includes quick measures for regeneration of Osaka's economy. Now she is implementing this program.

As for the prefectural policies relating to women, Osaka is promoting various measures based on the prefecture's plan of action, aiming to realize a society in which men and women can fully exercise their abilities and individuality, regardless of gender. The prefectural government is also preparing a new action plan which will begin in fiscal year 2001. It also promotes legislation for the realization of a gender-equal society.

Nowadays, violence against women has been seen as a serious problem both in and out of the country. Therefore, the Osaka Prefectural Government has just established the "Council on Prevention of Violence against Women" to help related institutions coordinate with each other and effectively practice comprehensive policies, ranging from prevention of violence to the care for the victims.

Amid her busy schedule, Governor Ohta positively joins cultural activities such as conducting the Century Orchestra Osaka, which shows her willingness to undertake challenges.



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