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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 219 (January 26, 2006)

[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile Japanese

General policy speech

Junichiro Koizumi here.

On Friday, January 20, the first day of the regular Diet session, I delivered what was my final general policy speech at the plenary sessions of the House of Representatives and House of Councillors.

Keeping in mind that the public would be paying close attention to the Diet speech and that many would also be watching it on TV, I tried to be as clear and concise as possible in speaking about the policies on issues we must tackle from now until September in a way that is easy to follow and understand.

As the general policy speech encompasses the policies of the whole government the draft of the speech had about 15,000 characters, but in the end I decided to drastically cut it down by about 5,000 characters. I also tried to incorporate many familiar episodes for greater clarity.

Every time I take the podium at the Diet I am aware of the weight of the task at hand. By the time I was finished with this 40 or so minute speech wherein I made sure to speak each and every word with precision and care, I was sweating profusely under my arms.

When I initiated reform five years ago under the policy of "without reform there will be no growth," this sparked debates on whether the policy should instead be "without growth there will be no reform" that puts growth ahead of reform. As the economy grows under the firm and resolute policy of reform, I believe we have finally settled the debate on the premise that "in fact 'without reform there will be no growth.'"

I think it was Chaplin who says, "All it needs is courage, imagination, and a little dough" in the movie Limelight. I think these are good words to live by. If people have dreams and hopes, they do not necessarily need a whole lot of dough; a little dough is fine as long as people have enough to make a living and have a bit of fun once in a while. This is what I tried to incorporate in my speech with the belief that these are the things that are important in life.

In concluding my speech, I introduced the words of Yoshida Shoin, a high-minded patriot from the last years of the Tokugawa Shogunate: "High-minded patriots never forget that they could end up in a ditch." I was moved by these words when I read them as a student but they are indeed difficult to grasp. In particular, I believe many people are unfamiliar with the Japanese word "kogaku," which refers to ditches and valleys.

Yoshida Shoin imparted to the high-minded patriots who exerted themselves for the nation, the Meiji Restoration, and for reform in the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate that they need to be prepared to do the following: "In order to realize one's ideals one must pursue state affairs with the sense that one does not mind even if one's own corpse is lying in a ditch or valley."

I decided to conclude my speech with his teachings with sincere hopes that all Diet members take up state affairs and advance reform with this kind of ambition and to remind myself to do the same.

I am resolved to devote myself wholeheartedly to discharging my responsibilities as Prime Minister for the full remainder of my term.

Last weekend, the animal quarantine station at Narita Airport discovered that risk material which should have been removed was mixed in with beef shipped from the United States shortly following the resumption of US beef imports. The Government immediately suspended all imports of US beef. Ensuring food safety and reassurance is not an option. The Government has strongly urged the US to investigate the causes and carry out in-depth reviews of its inspection system so that this does not happen again and to prevent any recurrence. The Government will not resume US beef imports until the US side has produced a satisfying explanation and countermeasures.

The Olympic Winter Games are set to begin next month on the 10th in Turin, Italy. Speaking about winter sports I love to ski but do not get much of a chance while I am Prime Minister. In compensation I have taken pleasure mainly in watching the sport. On the 22nd of this month, I extended some words of encouragement to the athletes of the Japanese Olympic team at the send-off event held for them in Tokyo. All the athletes were not only naturally very talented but have undergone rigorous training well beyond what the average person does. Let's hope they'll be able to give everything they've got in Turin.

* 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.

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- The Meeting of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Privatization of the Postal Services (January 25, 2006)
The Headquarters reported on the establishment of the Japan Postal Services Holding Company and decided on the basic plan concerning the transfer of operations from Japan Post.

- Awards Ceremony for the Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize (January 24, 2006)
Prime Minister Koizumi presented sumo wrestler Yokozuna Asashoryu with the Prime Minister's Award.

- Comment by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (January 24, 2006)
(the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 8)

- General Policy Speech by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the 164th Session of the Diet (January 20, 2006)
In concluding his speech, Prime Minister Koizumi stressed to the people of Japan and the members of the Diet that "we should never stop the reform."

- The Meeting of the IT Strategic Headquarters (January 19, 2006)
Prime Minister Koizumi said, "we will continue to work through the IT New Reform Strategy to retain our position as the most advanced nation in the coming age of rapid changes."

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General Editor: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Jinen Nagase
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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