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Abe Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.26 (April 19, 2007) ============================================================

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

Prime Minister Shinzo AbeProfile Japanese


Visit to the Disaster Site in Wajima


Hello, this is Shinzo Abe.

Mayor Iccho Ito of Nagasaki City passed away after being shot in the back in front of Nagasaki Station. This cannot happen. I offer my heartfelt prayers for the repose of Mayor Iccho's soul. I cannot fathom the grief and anger felt by the members of his family. I extend to them my heartfelt condolences.

Violent acts of this nature are an affront to democracy and simply cannot be tolerated. We must be absolutely resolute in doing everything we can to eradicate violence from our society.

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April 15 to May 14 is Greenery Month, a period during which the Green Fundraising Campaign is carried out to protect and cultivate forests. Like many others, I have gone to work every day this week wearing a green feather pinned to my jacket.

The magnificent blossoms of the Somei-yoshino cherry trees in the garden of my office have given way to new foliage, and the trees have taken on a mantle of green. The branches of the Sato-zakura cherry trees, however, are still laden with their beautiful blooms, offering a delightful sight.

The other day, I came across a large rat snake in the garden. I was rather surprised, but I am sure it was the guardian of the estate. Nature is so alive, even in this small garden in the middle of the city.

Two powerful earthquakes struck our nation recently -- one in Noto on March 25 and one in Mie on April 15, just this week. When I think of those people who have lost their homes or workplaces and are certainly in no condition to enjoy the season, I am indeed saddened.

In the afternoon of April 13, I visited the scene of the disaster in Wajima, a city stricken by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, leaving Tokyo straight after the vote on the national referendum bill at the plenary session of the House of Representatives. I saw for myself the extent of the disaster, and was able to hear first-hand from those who were affected by the disaster.

The work of clearing away the rubble is progressing and public transport is getting back to normal. Even so, the cruel face of the tragedy remains painfully apparent -- houses that were crushed, leaving only their tiled roofs; stone lanterns still lying where they fell over; and houses leaning at crazy angles. The contrast with the cherry trees in full bloom was a painfully stark sight to behold.

Among the people taking refuge at evacuation centers there were many elderly people, who, despite the desolation apparent in their faces, warmly greeted me as they sat in a formal style. I listened to their sincere requests: "We don't need grand houses; we just need to be able to live in them," said one person. "There are many elderly people here and our pensions are fixed sums. We simply don't have the money to rebuild our lives," said another. The Government will work to the fullest of its abilities to meet the expectations of the people affected.

The Government will give its support to ensure that the community, which has always sustained contact among people living in close vicinity, is not lost -- first of all by building temporary housing without delay, by repairing the houses that people have lived in for so long and by setting up public housing. In order to reconstruct the stricken area, the Cabinet will approve designation of the earthquake as a serious disaster as early as April 20, allowing the provision of even more thorough support.

Wajima is famed for its exquisite lacquer ware, as well as its outstanding local sake and other goods which are worth boasting to the world about. The Government will work together with Ishikawa Prefecture to create a fund for revitalizing local industries and helping those people working hard to rebuild their lives after the disaster.

Diet deliberations on the bills for rebuilding education have now started. These are enormously important bills, as they will guarantee every child in the country the opportunity to acquire a high academic ability and sense of discipline. I am determined to make every effort to ensure the passage of these bills through the Diet.


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[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- International Recycling Society
http://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/prg/prg1126.html

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (April 2 to 8)
http://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/prg/prg1127.html


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[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Japan Prize Laureates Pay a Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (April 18, 2007) http:// www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/abephoto/2007/04/18kokusai_e.html
Prime Minister Abe received a courtesy call from the Japan Prize laureates for 2007, the 23rd year of the awards.

- Japan-Italy Summit Meeting (April 16, 2007)
http:// www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/abephoto/2007/04/16italia_e.html
Prime Minister Abe held a meeting with Mr. Romano Prodi, the Prime Minister of the Italian Republic.

- Prime Minister Attends the Memorial Service for SDF Members who Lost their Lives while on a Disaster Relief Mission (April 15, 2007)
http:// www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/abephoto/2007/04/15sousou_e.html
Prime Minister Abe attended an official Self-Defense Forces (SDF) memorial service in Naha City, dedicated to the SDF members who lost their lives in a plane crash accident.

- Prime Minister Hosts Cherry Blossom Viewing Party (April 14, 2007) http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/abephoto/2007/04/14sakura_e.html
Under a clear, sunny sky, the event was lively, with approximately 11,000 guests representing various circles, as well as cultural and sporting figures.

- Prime Minister Visits the Disaster Site of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture (April 13, 2007) http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/abephoto/2007/04/13noto_e.html
Prime Minister Abe said, "The government continues to put its all power into supporting the wish of those affected to rebuild their workplaces and the foundations of their daily lives."

- Green Feather Campaign (April 13, 2007) http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/abephoto/2007/04/13midori_e.html
Prime Minister Abe received a courtesy call from the Japan Cherry Blossom Queen and Princess on the occasion of the Green Fundraising Campaign.

- Startup Meeting for Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue Reception to Welcome Premier Wen Jiabao's Visit to Japan (April 12, 2007) http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/abephoto/2007/04/12china_e.html
Prime Minister Abe addressed, "I am determined to join hands with Premier Wen to devote our utmost efforts to the development of the Japan-China relationship."

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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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