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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 230 (April 13, 2006)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile Japanese

"Cool Japan"

Junichiro Koizumi here.

The Spring Traffic Safety Campaign has been underway since April 6. On Monday, April 10, I attended the Central Meeting of the National Spring Traffic Safety Campaign held at an elementary school in Tokyo. As part of the lesson on traffic safety, the children and I practiced crossing the street after making sure that the signal light has turned green.

Everyone, please pay careful attention to avoid traffic accidents.

Mr. Hennry Budiman, a police officer from Indonesia who was staying in Osaka to study Japanese police work, has kindly contributed an article to this week's e-mail magazine. I was greatly fascinated by the fact that the traffic safety campaign and other activities conducted by the Japanese police in cooperation with local residents which we have become so accustomed to are in fact an object of intrigue and admiration for foreigners.

I also heard that the Iraqi police officers who were staying in Japan to receive training in forensic science including fingerprint analysis are making great achievements at the forefront of criminal investigation in Iraq since their return home.

It is heartening to know that the structure of the Japanese police is drawing the attention from overseas, with countries such as Singapore, Cambodia, and Brazil demonstrating a keen interest in Japanese police boxes known amongst them by the Japanese term "KOBAN."

There are many other examples of what we accept as a norm in Japan but are indeed highly acclaimed by foreigners.

On several occasions, I heard my foreign guests use expressions like "Japan cool" and "cool Japan." Although the word "cool" is often translated into Japanese as "moderately cold," it also carries the meaning "attractive" in the United States. Therefore, I wonder if they used it in the context of "attractive Japan."

I frequently hear that in addition to Japanese traditional culture and performing arts many other Japanese things are nowadays considered "cool" overseas. To name some, these include Japanese TV animation and food programs, computer games and character goods, comic books or manga, high technology products, and Japanese cuisines.

It may be that the lifestyle of Japanese people living in peace is drawing the attention of the world rather than military, political, or economic strengths.

Mr. Tom Hanks, an American film actor whom I met at my office last week, noted on how pleased he was with the Japanese-style hotel "ryokan" he stayed at in Kyoto. Ms. Misa Watanabe, who visited me at my office two days ago, told me that Ms. Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, had her wedding in Kyoto.

People sometimes become pessimistic in Japan, but I believe it is important for us to reconsider the attractiveness and importance of the things around us that we take for granted, and each one of us must work to further nourish our charms while creating valuable things even more.

The economy is finally starting to show bright signs. I will continue with the reform and make certain that the economy will stay on track for its full recovery.

* 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.

[Special Contribution]

"Learning from smiles in the country of cherry blossoms" An Indonesian policeman's experiences in Japan

By Hennry Budiman, S. Sos. MM, Assistant police commissioner, Unit treasurer identification center, Climinal investigation division of Indonesian National Police

(Editorial Note) Young senior officers of the Indonesian National Police are accepted in Japan for study and training courses conducted approximately two months at koban (police boxes) and chuzaisho (residential police boxes). In Indonesia, in order to help ensure that the results of this training are not limited to personally benefiting the trainees but are spread more widely, the trainees experiences were recorded in a book entitled "Learning from Smiles in the Country of Cherry Blossoms," which was published last December. The present contribution is a summary of the experiences of Mr. Hennry Budiman, one of the policemen whose training experience is recorded in the book.

The koban in front of JR Tennoji Station in Osaka, which operates under the control of Osaka Tennoji Police Station, is known locally as the Elephant Koban because its building is shaped like an Elephant. In the course of the experiences, I gained while receiving training at this koban, I learned a good lesson that I believe should be taken to heart by the Indonesian Police in future.

What I learned when I went on patrol with Japanese police officers is that these officers never become emotional or speak in a rough manner when addressing citizens who do not follow their instructions.

I felt that these Japanese police officers had a high degree of emotional control. When I asked the officers working at the koban how they controlled themselves, they told me that at police college they had been drilled in the idea that "pride makes a police officer."

Apart from that, I learned a lot of other lessons such as the importance of strict punctuality, calling out to and greeting citizens, maintaining high standards of professionalism, and maintaining a pleasant stance and attitude, the last being qualities that are promoted and nurtured in each police officer's mind through the practice of martial arts such as kendo and judo.

I also accompanied Japanese police officers in their activities aimed at achieving familiarity with the citizens, which are carried out by officers based at koban and chuzaisho. Despite the fact that the Indonesian police have carried out similar activities for many years, why is it that the distance between the police and ordinary citizens is not close in Indonesia? Do not local residents have enough trust in the police in Indonesia? What are the Indonesian police doing wrong in this respect? Are we lacking in loyalty to our principles? Such questions came to me.

It seemed to me that Japanese police officers experience happiness and joy in working as servants of the nation. They work taking into account each individual's abilities and skills based on the principal of appointing the right person for the right job. I wonder how long it will take for us Indonesian police officers to become more like them?

It is never too late to change! I firmly believe that we in the Indonesian police can change only if we are all prepared to work hard together so that we can gain the nation's trust. And moreover, I believe we can best do this by grasping the system of the Japanese police, which has succeeded in gaining the empathy of the citizens of what has often been called the safest country in the world.

* Profile of contributor

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Prime Minister Meets with the Representatives of People Campaigning for the Return of the Northern Islands (April 11, 2006)
Prime Minister Koizumi said, ". . . it is important to definitively resolve the issue of the Northern Territories . . . . I would like to continue to progress matters in cooperation."

- Prime Minister Attends the Central Meeting of the Traffic Safety Campaign (April 10, 2006)
Prime Minister Koizumi walked across the pedestrian crossing with children at an elementary school in Tokyo where he participated in the campaign.

- Japan-Saudi Arabia Summit Meeting (April 6, 2006)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with His Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

[The Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine]

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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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