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Abe Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.40 (August 2, 2007) ============================================================

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

Prime Minister Shinzo AbeProfile Japanese

Resolutely Prepared

Hello, this is Shinzo Abe.

The recent election for the House of Councillors delivered an extremely harsh result.

There was anger toward the Government over the pension record problems. There was also anger, and a feeling that the public has had more than enough, over the spate of inappropriate remarks made by Cabinet members and problems of political funding.

I accept in all seriousness that this severe election outcome stems from the anger and betrayal of trust felt by the people of this country, and I am keenly aware that I must answer in all sincerity to the uncompromising voice of the people.

There has been much criticism, and some have called for my resignation. However, it would be unacceptable to simply halt the flow of reform midstream.

There are vital reforms that we must advance further -- rebuilding education, reforming the civil servant system, promoting the new strategy for growth, activating and revitalizing regions, advancing initiatives to resolve global environmental issues, reconstructing Japan's Asian diplomacy and revising the Constitution.

In last week's e-mail magazine, I spoke of my determination to keep reforms moving forward. Since then I have received a great many e-mails with encouraging messages of support, for which I would like to express my deepest gratitude. I would also like to make it plain that my determination remains utterly unshaken.

I must accept without excuses that having failed to give adequate explanations of the exact nature of the reforms, I have not managed to further policy debate. Nonetheless, I do not believe that the recent election result is in any sense a repudiation of the direction in which I have been advancing reform.

It would be inexcusable to create a political vacuum at this juncture. Worse still would be to cause the country to backtrack to the sluggish period of the 1990s, when political turmoil held back the pace of reform. I see it as both my mission and my responsibility to move forward with building a new nation.

The election outcome delivered a clear message: "If you can't eliminate public distrust of the Government and politics, you certainly won't be able to build a new nation." I fully accept that this is the voice of the Japanese people, loud and clear.

I will start afresh in both heart and mind: I will put in place a new Cabinet lineup capable of further advancing reforms and winning the trust of the people.

I will further increase the transparency of political funding. Politicians themselves must first clearly demonstrate a serious attitude, and must create an open system in order to avoid inviting misplaced suspicions.

There was also another voice to be heard amid the election result: the voice of the regions, feeling the pain that comes with reform. The onus is on me to answer their voice by making every effort to ensure that the regions too will be able to enjoy the fruits of reform.

I have strengthened my conviction that I must turn the harsh judgment delivered by the recent election into an opportunity to realize trustworthy politics and build a framework for truly hastening reforms.

I shall not turn my back; instead, I am resolutely prepared to stand at the fore of my Government and meet, full on, the stern voices of criticism of the people. And with the determination to make a fresh start,I will hold firmly to the convictions that guide me toward the creation of a new nation.

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (July 17 to 22, 2007)

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Representatives of the Japanese Team of International Peace Cooperation in Timor-Leste Pay Respects to the Prime Minister before Departure (August 1, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe encouraged them by saying "Restoring order to Timor-Leste is a highly important mission and I hope each one of you will do your best."

- 1st Meeting of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy (July 31, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe said, "Now that the Basic Act on Ocean Policy is established and enforced, we must make this year the starting year for Japan to sail toward becoming a truly maritime nation."

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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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