Abe Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.9 (December 7, 2006) ============================================================
[Hello, this is Shinzo Abe] -- Message from Prime Minister
Last Sunday, December 3, I attended an event held in Tokyo where I participated along with a group of children in an iron-making demonstration.
The event was organized to demonstrate a traditional Japanese iron manufacturing technique in which the metal is made by burning iron sand and charcoal in a box-shaped clay furnace. It is called the "Tatara" iron-making method, and it is showcased in the Japanese animated film "Princess Mononoke."
It was such a chilly day that the sunlight felt good on my skin, but the children were full of energy. They crowded around the brick furnace for the demonstration with a sense of awe, and let out cheers of surprise as they saw the steam billowing up and heard the hissing sound of a charred lump taken from the furnace and dipped in water.
With a helmet on my head and the scent of iron in the air, I was reminded of the days when I used to work for a steel manufacturer. In my job there, I was in charge of exports of thin steel sheets and cold-rolled sheet steel for use in automobiles to countries in Southeast Asia. Although it was a challenging job and I had to work quite hard, the manufacturing experience that I gained on the factory floor after joining the company is a precious asset in my life even now.
Education is not something that is achieved only in the classroom. I believe that providing children with these kinds of practical experiences at making things enables them to gain a real sense of appreciation for the items they use every day, and that working cooperatively with others fosters a sense of discipline and a caring heart.
The sparkle in the children's eyes as they gazed at the red flames in the furnace rekindled within me the ideal image that I have for education. I will continue to make time to listen to the voices of children.
The Government is now entering the final stages of formulation of the FY2006 supplementary budget and the FY2007 budget.
My policy on budget formulation is straightforward. In the FY2006 supplementary budget I will limit spending to measures against disasters and other expenses necessary to maintain a safe and secure society. For other expenditure items, I will clearly demonstrate my reform stance aimed at the restoration of fiscal health, a stance which includes a measure to reduce the amount of public bond issuance. These policies stem from my firm belief that they are the best ways to invite confidence in the Japanese economy both domestically and internationally.
A major challenge of the FY2007 budget is to decide upon the best modality for tax revenues earmarked for road projects.
The system of earmarking tax revenues for road projects started in 1954, which happens to be the year I was born. The system has made a great contribution to the development of Japan's road network, and clearly we need to continue building roads where they are needed. At the same time, however, it is my strong conviction that we must review the current system under which specific tax revenues are automatically and exclusively allocated to road development. There must be a way to use the revenue for the greater benefit of the people.
I am advancing major reform to a system that no one has dared to alter for half a century. The Abe Cabinet keeps the interests of the people in mind at all times. It is a Cabinet for the people. Individuals have varying opinions on various issues, but still I am determined to advance reforms that benefit the people of Japan. I ask for your support in my endeavors.
- Answer to the quiz in the Japanese Version E-mail Magazine
Q: How do you say "zaisei-saiken" in English?
- YOKOSO! JAPAN
- Meeting of the Tax Commission Prime Minister Receives a Report on the FY2007 Tax System Revision (December 1, 2006)
- Meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (November 30, 2006)
- Prime Minister Receives a Courtesy call from Governor Inamine and Governor-Elect Nakaima of Okinawa Prefecture (November 29, 2006)
- 1st Meeting of the Eminent Persons' Council on the New Health Frontier Strategy (November 29, 2006)
- Prime Minister Receives a Courtesy Call from Bono of U2 (November 29, 2006)
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