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04/16/2017

Discussion to make Lake Biwa Day a holiday was heated

The Shiga Strategic Meeting between Governor and Mayors, where Governor Mikazuki and the heads of municipalities are expected to exchange their views with each other, was held at Nagahama City Office on April 11. One of the topics discussed was the governor’s desire to make Lake Biwa Day (July 1) a holiday, provoking a heated discussion.

Eigo Tanihata, mayor of Konan City, who used to work for the Prefectural Government, opened the debate, saying “this is nothing new, popping up again and again in the past within the Prefectural Government.” The mayor showed his skepticism over the issue, pointing out that the public schools, which have difficulty in securing enough time for students to study, don’t have the luxury to follow suit. He also said, “it is impossible for Shiga-based corporations to stop their business operation on that day, while private companies in other prefectures are active.”

Yoshiaki Yamanaka, mayor of Yasu City, criticized the idea, saying “there are a lot of challenges that should be overcome, and unless problems and risks are clearly addressed, we can’t even start a discussion.” In addition, Masaaki Fukui, mayor of Takashima City, showed his cautious attitude. “There should be a logical framework which leads to the realization of the policy.”

On the other hand, Kazuhiro Miyamoto, mayor of Moriyama City, showed his favorable response, proposing that Lake Biwa Day is shifted to the first Sunday to avoid creating a new holiday. In response to this, Masahiro Nomura, mayor of Ritto City, said, “I couldn’t agree more, and we should deepen the discussion based on the premise that there are alternative ideas including not making Lake Biwa Day a holiday.”

“It is not our purpose to make Lake Biwa Day a holiday. It is just a way to raise public awareness regarding the current challenges of Lake Biwa,” says Governor Mikazuki, who commented that the prefecture would examine the opinions presented.

Lake Biwa Day was created in commemoration of the Ordinance for the Prevention of Eutrophication of Lake Biwa, which was enacted on July 1, 1980. Governor Mikazuki has shown his intention this year to explore the possibility of making the day a holiday, in accordance with the Local Government Act.

(Chunichi Shimbun, April 12, 2017)

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