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Abe Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.14 (January 25, 2007) ============================================================

"Hello, this is Shinzo Abe" -- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Shinzo AbeProfile Japanese

Seven Recommendations and Four Urgent Response Measures

Hello, this is Shinzo Abe.

Entrance exam season is upon us. The national examinations for university entrance were held last weekend throughout the country. I know that many of the students taking their exams this year have had to overcome difficult circumstances such as the problem of compulsory curriculum requirements not being met, but I hope that they will face their challenges with their very best effort.

The Education Rebuilding Council has completed its first report, which contains seven recommendations and four urgent response measures. The recommendations include a review of "education with room to grow," improvements in academic abilities and teacher quality, measures against bullying, reform of boards of education, and efforts by society as a whole -- families, local communities, companies, the entire nation -- on behalf of our children's education.

All of the council members share the desire to rebuild education, and they passionately debated the issues from the perspective of their areas of expertise and familiarity with the educational scene, even working late into the night to allow more time for discussion. As a council member, I too attended each and every meeting. Although at times the debates were intense, this report is the result of the combined wisdom and desire of all of the members of the council.

I have already mentioned this a number of times in this e-mail magazine, but allow me to say it again: rebuilding education is the top priority task of the Abe Cabinet. Realizing "a beautiful country, Japan" means educating the children and young people who will shoulder responsibility for the next generation. I will thoroughly scrutinize the report, promptly implement those recommendations that can be acted on immediately, and submit the necessary bills during the current ordinary Diet session.

Incidentally, do you know about the Deaflympics? The Deaflympics are an international sports event for hearing-impaired persons and, just as with the Olympics and Paralympics, both summer and winter sessions of the event are held once every four years. Yesterday I met with athletes who will represent Japan in the 16th Winter Deaflympics, which open in Salt Lake City in the United States on February 1.

This meeting took place because a person working for the organization that is sending our athletes to the event sent me an e-mail via the website of the Prime Minister's Office saying, "Although the Olympics and Paralympics are well-known, few people are aware of the Deaflympics, and so I am writing to ask for your support." I decided to meet with the athletes to encourage them in any way I could.

I tried my best to communicate in sign language. I was able to share my feelings with them, signing, "Hello everyone. I am Prime Minister Abe. Thank you for coming today," and "Please do your best to win a medal." I was very relieved when the athletes applauded me.

I am sure these athletes have faced extra challenges because of their hearing impairment, and yet they were upbeat and did not give the slightest impression that their lives have been difficult. To the contrary, I gained inspiration from their approach of taking the path they need to follow and working diligently toward their goals. The sight of people from all walks of life discovering their own special talents and abilities and then doing their best with them truly strengthens me.

The Diet convened today, and I will give my policy speech before the Diet tomorrow. I will do everything possible to ensure swift enactment of the draft budget for FY2007 and other key bills and devote my full efforts to the creation of a beautiful country.

[Learning Media English with E-mail Magazine]

- Answer to the quiz in the Japanese Version E-mail Magazine

Q: How do you say "kita-taiseiyo-jyouyaku-kikou" in English?
A: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Appreciating Wooden Architecture

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- 5th Meeting of the Education Rebuilding Council (January 24, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe said, "Rebuilding education is not only the top priority task for my Cabinet, but also the most important task for Japan of today and the future."

- Prime Minister Receives a Courtesy Call from the Members of Japan's National Team for the Winter Deaflympics (January 24, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe greeted the athletes by saying in sign language, "Hello everyone. I am Prime Minister Abe. Thank you for coming today."

- Japan-Mozambique Summit Meeting (January 23, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe said, "I am convinced that our bilateral relations will be even further strengthened on the occasion of the President's visit."

- The Council of Related Ministers for the Realization of Japan as a Country Built on Tourism (January 19, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe said, "Tourism is a symbol representing the stability and fulfillment of people's lives and international peace."

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General Editor: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Chief Editor: Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Hiroshige Seko
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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