Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 221 (February 9, 2006)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
I am overwhelmed with joy on the announcement on February 7 that Her Imperial Highness Princess Akishino (Princess Kiko) was showing signs of pregnancy. I would like to join the people of Japan in extending my heartfelt congratulations on this heartwarming and wonderful news for the prosperity of the Imperial Family.
At the end of last week, the supplementary budget which includes the budget for measures against disasters, asbestos, potential human pandemic influenza, and falsification of earthquake- resistance data was approved. I intend to immediately begin work on the necessary measures.
Deliberations on the FY2006 budget began this Monday. The Japanese economy is beginning to move towards a private-sector led recovery without relying on public spending. I will strive first of all to get the budget approved by the end of FY2005 in order to get the economy back onto a steady recovery track and further accelerate the structural reform advanced by the Koizumi Cabinet.
Last week I visited the newly opening Omotesando Hills. This redeveloped building of the Dojunkai Aoyama Apartments, a housing complex which was built during the Taisho period, is a multipurpose complex consisting of specialty stores and residences spread over its six floors above ground and six below, including a parking lot that can hold over 200 vehicles.
While featuring such innovative designs as a long stone-paved slope with the same incline as the moderate sloping main street in Omotesando as well as a large atrium, this building blends in with the Japanese Zelkova trees lining the street with its height aligned with the trees.
In Tokyo there are many attractive shopping areas that draw people to Ginza as well as such districts as Shinjuku, Roppongi, Asakusa, and Akihabara. A city like this is probably quite unusual and unique in the world. I am sure Omotesando will turn into a shopping street that further pleases the hearts of both Japanese and foreign visitors.
The Winter Olympic Games will soon begin. I imagine the city of Turin, Italy is filled with an air of excitement that would even melt the snow ahead of tomorrow's opening ceremony. I too am looking forward to seeing the best athletes perform at the top of their form.
From Japan a total of 112 athletes ranging from a young 16-year-old emerging star to a 41-year-old veteran athlete among the 238 members of the Japanese Olympic team will compete in such events as skiing, skating, and bobsledding. For those for whom this will be their first Olympic games as well as for veteran athletes, the Olympics have a special meaning.
I attended the send-off event for them last month and personally extended my words of encouragement to all the athletes. Behind their gentle smiles I strongly sensed the fighting spirit they had within them.
I hope they will be able to demonstrate their outstanding abilities, skills, and mental strength. I will also be cheering for them in front of the TV. Let's all cheer for Japan!
* 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.
"To meet, to talk and to learn"
by Gunawan Zakki, Secretary General, SII (SSEAYP International Indonesia)
I was honored to participate in "the Ship for Southeast Asia Youth Program" (SSEAYP) in 1997, living together on board as well as visiting Southeast Asian countries with 330 participating youth from 10 ASEAN countries and Japan. It was truly meaningful in my life to experience the following Japanese ways of living and doing things by participating in this program.
Attention to detailed: I was deeply satisfied with Japanese culture in which people pay thoughtful attention to various situations we do not usually notice on a daily basis, which taught me a lot.
Togetherness: I realized that working together on board and in Japan helped young people to grow and build trust among them.
Discipline: Well-organized operation at SSEAYP had a good influence on my way of thinking and behavior. My Japanese friends are very good teacher in this point.
Until last year I was engaged in NPO activities to provide children "school nutrition program" as well as social education in Java. I am now involved in training local volunteers for relief activities in Ache which area was heavily damaged by Tsunami at the December of 2004. I always pay enough attention to these three points such as "attention to detailed," "togetherness" and "discipline" when I operate NPO project.
I decided to explain clearly and deliberately on what we are going to do and show how important it is for local people to keep discipline. As a result, everyone fostered a sense of solidarity by sharing the same information and that lead people to maintain discipline for their own benefit, not by being told to do so.
It is obvious that all knowledge and meeting with new people through SSEAYP gives affluence in every participating youth, and becomes a driving force to create a person who can contribute to society.
Another merit of this program is continuing network established from the participation of the program. Respective alumni associations established by former participating youths of the SSEAYP have set an international network called "SSEAYP International" which takes turns organizing SIGA (SSEAYP International General Assembly) once a year as well as working together on developing youth activities such as "Asian Children Paintings Exchange Project" and "Essay Contest for high school student and University student."
Finally, on behalf of SSEAYP International Indonesia, I would like to express my appreciation to all the Japanese people for giving this wonderful opportunity for youth from Japan and ASEAN countries. I also hope that many young people in Japan and ASEAN countries will learn about it and make a challenge to join in this program.
* Profile of contributor
* Activities of SSEAYP
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