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Abe Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.35 (June 28, 2007) ============================================================

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

Prime Minister Shinzo AbeProfile Japanese

Taking All Necessary Action

Hello, this is Shinzo Abe.

Last week, the Diet approved a 12-day extension of the current session. This extension is intended to ensure that three bills -- the bill for abolishing the statute of limitation on pensions, the Social Insurance Agency reform bill and the bill for reforming the civil servant system -- will pass without fail.

On the problems surrounding the nation's pension records, I have promised that the Government's checks will continue until the very last record has been verified and that we will ensure that everyone receives their full pension. Although it may take us some time, the Government is now doing everything in its power to fulfill this commitment.

Under the current system, pensioners' entitlement to receive unpaid pension payments becomes void after the limitation of five years has expired, at which time they become ineligible to receive back payments.

Insofar as government mismanagement is at the root of the recordkeeping problems, I will ensure that no one is denied payment due to the expiration of the statute of limitation. The bill for abolishing the statute of limitation is precisely for this purpose.

Some are opposed to this bill, and some are advocating for its postponement. Does that mean it is acceptable to extinguish, on the basis of the limitation, the provision of pension payments owed to people who made all their pension contributions dutifully and with all sincerity? I see no basis for such a claim.

Furthermore, it is clear that behind the current situation are problems with the organizational culture of the Social Insurance Agency, as well as with the attitude of its staff. Unless we dismantle the operations of the Agency and all the staff resign now, we will not be able to stamp out the Agency's long-entrenched disease.

The Government's Social Insurance Agency reform bill is designed for both the organization and its employees to start over from scratch.

A counterproposal to this bill suggests that consolidation of the Social Insurance Agency with another organization would be sufficient, without regard to the inherent problems of the organization and its people. That, however, amounts to no more than changing the facade, and will not resolve the problems whatsoever.

In last week's e-mail magazine, I shared with you my ideas on the bill for reforming the civil servant system. Here again, the voice of the people is resolute: we must promote restructuring in the public sector, and at the same time root out the problem of retired civil servants landing executive positions in the private sector.

I hear voices opposing the bill that say all civil servants should be allowed to retain their positions until they reach retirement age. Such a proposal would lead to the bloating of the public sector, and is therefore a case of misplaced priorities.

It is the duty of those in politics to respond to the anger of the people -- their anger at the pension record problems and their anger at the series of collusive bidding scandals involving public offices.

We will surely never realize responsible politics if we postpone reaching conclusions on these matters out of concern for the immediately upcoming elections.

The Abe Cabinet's approach is to take all the actions that need to be taken for the people, ceaselessly and in a simple and honest fashion. Whatever criticisms might come my way, I am fully determined to pass these three bills during the current session of the Diet.

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (June 11 to 17, 2007)

- Healthy and Delicious! The Attractions of Japanese Food

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Japan-Guyana Summit Meeting (June 26, 2007)
During the summit meeting, the leaders discussed bilateral economic cooperation as well as the strengthening of relations between Japan and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

- Prime Minister Meets with the Chairman of the Central Third-Party Committee to Check Pension Records (June 26, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe said, "I have great expectations for the Committee to conduct its investigation from the people's perspective."

- Prime Ministerial Commendation for Contributors to the "Challenge Again" Initiative (June 26, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe told the award recipients, "I would like to ask for your continued cooperation in bringing out a society that encourages people to challenge again."

- Prime Minister Attends the Memorial Ceremony to Commemorate the Fallen on the 62nd Anniversary of the End of the Battle of Okinawa (June 23, 2007)
Under the clear blue sky of Okinawa after the end of the rainy season, Prime Minister Abe paid his respects at the National Cemetery for the War Dead in Okinawa.

[Abe Cabinet E-mail Magazine]

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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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