Abe Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.4 (November 2, 2006) ============================================================
[Hello, this is Shinzo Abe] -- Message from Prime Minister
Five years have passed since September 11, 2001, the day the United States was struck by a series of terrorist attacks. The fight against terrorism continues today.
The terrorists are using Afghanistan as their base. Roughly 20 countries have deployed troops there on missions to sweep them out, but despite these efforts, the terrorists move through rugged mountainous areas, cross borders and escape to the sea, enabling them to spread throughout the world.
A number of countries are dispatching naval vessels to the Indian Ocean both to prevent terrorists from using the seas to travel and to prevent activities such as drug smuggling that provide funds for terrorism.
To assist in these efforts, the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) has been conducting fuel supply operations for these foreign naval ships since November 2001. Their role in allowing ships to refuel on the ocean without touching port is vital to the overall maritime interdiction operation.
In the Indian Ocean, temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius, and on the deck of a ship they can exceed 70 degrees--hot enough to fry an egg. In that harsh environment, the MSDF has to date conducted nearly 700 refueling operations for vessels from 11 countries.
On October 29, during the MSDF fleet review, I stood on the deck of the escort ship "Kurama," which is stationed in Sagami Bay. Initially the skies were overcast, but before long they cleared and gave way to an azure autumn sky, as if in celebration of the occasion.
The sight of the ships neatly lined up on the deep blue sea filled me with pride, and I stood tall. Among the ships sailing with an air of dignity, I was heartened at the sight of the supply ship "Tokiwa," which was on a fuel supply mission until this April, as it gallantly glided across the water. The disciplined, controlled movements of the ships and their crews inspired me with a sense of confidence.
The current Diet session has extended the term of the Anti- Terrorism Special Measures Law by one year, on which basis the Government has decided to continue MSDF fuel supply operations in the Indian Ocean. As the international community cooperates in the fight against terror, Japan will do all that it can. I believe this to be Japan's responsibility.
We were able to complete our humanitarian and reconstruction assistance activities in Iraq and bring every single person involved back home safely. The Self-Defense Forces (SDF) are continuing to contribute in the efforts by the international community through transportation of goods and other tasks in Iraq, as well as in the Golan Heights, even after the withdrawal of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) from the region.
At home, the SDF are indispensable to Japan as the central force in crisis management and a provider of rescue and reconstruction services in times of natural disaster. Overseas, they represent our country and work hard around the clock for the peace and stability of the world. As Prime Minister, I will develop a structure in which international peace cooperation activities are the SDF's fundamental mission.
The day before the pomp of the MSDF fleet review, I attended a solemn memorial ceremony at the Defense Agency for those who have died in the line of duty. The image of the bereaved family members standing before the monument to our country's fallen men and women remains etched in my mind. From my heart I prayed for their eternal repose, and I renewed my resolve to carry on their cause and devote my efforts to protecting our citizens' lives and property and maintaining peace.
- Answer to the quiz in the Japanese Version E-mail Magazine
Q: How do you say "IJIME" in English?
- Welcome to Hakone
- Japan-Equatorial Guinea Summit Meeting (October 31, 2006)
- Fleet Review of the Self-Defense Forces (October 29, 2006)
- 1st Meeting of the Innovation 25 Strategy Council (October 26, 2006)
- Nuclear Energy Disaster Prevention Drill (October 26, 2006)
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