The Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine Special Edition
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
(* The title of this column "Lion Heart" is a reference to the Prime Minister's lion-like hairstyle and his unbending determination to advance structural reform.)
June 29, 2001
Launching an Email Magazine
- May 29, 2001 -
I am Junichiro Koizumi. I'm sure many of you know me only as "The Henjin" or the one with hair like a lion's mane. I hope the "Koizumi Cabinet Email Magazine" will help you understand my Cabinet as it really is.
Mine is a cabinet determined to carry out reform. Dialogue with you is vital to its success. Through this email magazine, I'd like to convey to you my thoughts and the thoughts of my Cabinet members. In turn, I'd like to learn what you think. What should Japan be like? What must we do to earn the respect of other nations? To make Japan a country out children can be proud of? To turn it into a pleasant place to live and work, where we can enjoy peace and comfort?
I'd like us to consider these questions together. I want us to build a better nation by changing those things that must be changed and by preserving what must be preserved.
On the Go 24 Hours a Day, Seven Days a Week
- June 14, 2001 -
I am Junichiro Koizumi. I am delighted that we have finally been able to get the first official edition of the "Koizumi Cabinet Email Magazine" off the ground. In this informal space, I'd like to discuss not only my policies but also my ideas, who I really am, and so on. I'll try to answer your questions as much as I can. I hope you will enjoy this email magazine.
Before we started this magazine, we received a lot of encouragements, suggestions and comments at the official website of Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet. I thank you all for that. Many people asked, "What has changed the most since you became Prime Minister?" My answer: I've lost all my freedom. I'm now like a caged bird 24 hours a day.
Before I became Prime Minister I used to be able to go to a convenience store by myself or just stroll about as I please. Now, wherever I go, security guards go with me, sometimes dozens of them. If I want to see a movie now, I may have to reserve a large number of tickets. I just can't go out casually as I used to be able to. Also, during the day I must meet a great many people from all walks of life, attend meetings to discuss such issues as the economy and IT, and of course debate in the National Diet. All of which leaves me with very little time to relax.
The Prime Minister, in my opinion, is a public servant who must be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to respond to any contingency whenever it arises. This is of course vital from the point of view of crisis management. However, though I may not have the freedom I used to enjoy, I am putting heart and soul into this job 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's why I value your encouragement and support.
Sports That Touch Your Heart
- June 21, 2001 -
Hello, Junichiro Koizumi here.
I greatly enjoy all kinds of sports. I once played baseball and I still ski. I am also very fond of swimming. While playing sports is a joy, it is also enjoyable to watch them. Sporting events sometimes unfold like a drama before your very eyes. And that's what's so attractive about them.
In baseball, you are particularly thrilled when the tables are turned at the last moment with a homerun in the final innings. The ballplayer Daisuke Matsuzaka, of Seibu Lions, remains so popular because we all remember the national high school ballgame in which he kept pitching in the extended innings, under the blazing sun, until he won.
In sumo, Takanohana's victory in the final bout of the recent summer tournament was truly astonishing. On the previous day he had injured himself, and as we saw him leave the arena supported by his assistants, I'm sure everyone thought he wouldn't be able to show up on the final day of the tournament. When he did show up for the final bout, a strange feeling that lay somewhere between tension and compassion pervaded the Kokugikan stadium. Nevertheless, despite his injury, Takanohana threw down his opponent spectacularly and won. That's what moved us - perseverance honed in the tough competitive world of professional sports.
When handing the Prime Minister's Cup to the grand champion Takanohana, I wanted to convey this sentiment. Luckily, my words came out naturally. The trophy was enormous, but the significance of that victor was even more enormous. It is important to be moved by such things. It fills us with strength. I hope to maintain this ability to be moved - and the ability to move you, if possible - as long as I serve as Prime Minister.
What is this Henjin Stuff all about?
- June 28, 2001 -
Hello! Junichiro Koizumi here.
One of the mottos I live by is an old Chinese adage meaning, "Avoiding non-essentials is best." I'm also partial to another Chinese dictum, "Vie for things vita. Ignore things trivial." A politician's job is meeting many, many people, and it's difficult to leave anybody, anything, out. So a politician saying something like "Avoiding non-essentials is best" ends up being called a henjin, though I must confess I love to be called that.
The English word for henjin is "eccentric" or "oddball." But I wouldn't want to be thought of as a cuckoo I asked a foreign correspondent and he suggested that "extraordinary" might be a good translation of henjin. Well, I liked that, if "extraordinary" means "surpassing the mundane," that suits me fine.
Since then, I've flattered myself by thinking that people are complimenting me when they call me a henjin. I also hear that there's a pun involved: henjin can be abbreviated version of henkaku no hito, "a reform-minded person".
On June 26, my Cabinet adopted broad-stroke guidelines for the rejuvenation of the Japanese economy. There can be no growth without reform. This reform-minded henjin is getting into his stride. Watch how I implement reforms.
Beginning on June 29, I'll be visiting the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. I look forward to creating good personal relationships with the heads of state of these countries.
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