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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 244 (July 27, 2006)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile Japanese

Thinking of the hardships experienced by the Japanese emigrants to the Dominican Republic

Junichiro Koizumi here.

Torrential rains of extraordinary magnitude in such regions as Nagano, Kagoshima, and Shimane Prefectures have caused landslides, river flooding, and other damage. I express my condolences to the victims and extend my deepest sympathy to all those affected.

The central government ministries concerned will engage in close coordination and the Government as a whole will take robust responsive measures to prevent the damage from the rains from spreading and undertake restoration work in cooperation with the people of the regions affected.

This week, on July 29, a commemorative ceremony for the 50th anniversary of Japanese emigration to the Dominican Republic will be held in this Caribbean country.

In the early 1950s, around 1,300 Japanese people full of dreams and hopes emigrated to this faraway country across the ocean as part of an emigration project implemented by the Government.

However, due to the Government's lack of sufficient research and inadequate provision of information on their destination, the emigrants found themselves on land that was far from suitable for agriculture, and instead was rock-covered and barren. Their misfortune was multiplied by the social confusion and frequent natural disasters in the country. The emigrants have suffered hardships beyond our imagination for many years.

The Government is truly remorseful and apologizes for the immense hardships the emigrants have undergone, caused by the response taken by the Government at that time under the emigration project. In light of this, we have decided to offer a special one-time payment to the emigrants to the Dominican Republic.

The Japanese people have won the trust of the international community for our serious and diligent nature and for keeping our promises. I believe such trust owes precisely to the emigrants abroad as well as Japanese businesspersons in foreign countries, who have worked and are working harder than even local citizens in spite of a climate, language, customs, and food that is different from their own.

I express my deep respect for those emigrants who have overcome the various challenges, tirelessly worked and made efforts, and contributed to developing the friendly relations between Japan and the Dominican Republic. I am very glad that the commemorative ceremony for the 50th anniversary of Japanese emigration to the Dominican Republic will be held in our hope to further develop our nations while enjoying our friendly ties. I cordially hope that this ceremony will serve as an opportunity of warm congratulations shared by both the people of Japan and of the Dominican Republic.

Two days ago, on Tuesday, I met and dined with Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare of the Commission of the African Union (AU) at my official residence. I shared with Chairperson Konare my idea of establishing the Hideyo Noguchi Prize for Africa when I visited Ethiopia this May. We have since then been taking in advice from people concerned on what kind of award this should become and its content is close to being finalized.

The establishment of the Hideyo Noguchi Prize for Africa is scheduled to be officially decided this week. It will be awarded on the occasion of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which is held once every five years in Japan, to those who have made outstanding contributions in the study and practice of medicine for disease control including infectious diseases in Africa.

I attended a town meeting held on Monday, July 24. I sometimes worried when I first started this initiative whether people would come to such government-sponsored town meetings. However, most thankfully we have welcomed the people's great participation in town meetings that have taken place all over Japan. This year marks the 5th anniversary with the 167th meeting having taken place on Monday, and it was also the 6th town meeting that I have attended.

A great number of people were in attendance at this meeting and we received many questions and opinions on such themes as the decreasing birthrate, environment issues, and the creation of a society with abundant opportunities.

I will make sure that those opinions received through this e-mail magazine and at the town meetings will continue to be reflected in the political decision-making.

* 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 New in Government Internet TV]

- Press Conference (G8 Summit)

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Awards Ceremony to Present the Prime Minister's Commendations for Contributors to the National Greening Campaign (July 26, 2006)
Prime Minister Koizumi said, "It is a very personal and important campaign about learning how we can protect the environment. . ."

- Meeting of the Central Council on Promotion of Measures for Persons with Disabilities (July 26, 2006)
A report was given on the state of progress of measures and discussion took place over the issues to be tackled concerning measures for persons with disabilities.

- Prime Minister Meets with Chairperson Konare of the Commission of the African Union (AU) (July 25, 2006)
Prime Minister Koizumi indicated his desire to establish the Hideyo Noguchi Prize for Africa that is comparable to the Nobel Prize and contributes to the practice and study of medicine well into the future.

- Junior Reporters from Okinawa Pay Courtesy Call on the Prime Minister (July 25, 2006)
Prime Minister Koizumi received a courtesy call from 40 junior reporters from Okinawa and 14 junior reporters from Hakodate City.

- 5th Anniversary of the Town Meetings (July 24, 2006)
In closing Prime Minister Koizumi addressed, "What is important in society is to try to change challenges to opportunities and turn negative events into positive ones."

- Prime Minister Receives a Courtesy Call from the Organizers of the Ceremony to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Japanese Emigration to the Dominican Republic (July 21, 2006)
Prime Minister Koizumi said, "I would like to express my respect to those people who emigrated to the Dominican Republic . . . . My cordial thoughts go out to your hard work."

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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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