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Fukuda Cabinet E-Mail Magazine No.3 (October 25, 2007) ============================================================

"Testing times. This is Yasuo Fukuda."
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Yasuo FukudaProfile Japanese

Testing times. This is Yasuo Fukuda.

Many readers kindly wrote in to tell me about their ways of relieving stress in reply to the "Yasuo Fukuda As He Is" section in the Japanese version of the e-mail magazine last week. There were all sorts of ideas, such as playing games or singing as loudly as possible. I was even advised that I need to lose my cool and get angry with the opposition members of the Diet now and again. I read your ideas with great interest.

Some also pointed out that all of the encouragement from the responses to the e-mail magazine would help relieve stress, and this is certainly true. Having been greatly touched by all your kind comments, I feel inspired and filled with new strength.

Nevertheless, the world of politics is such that problems keep cropping up, one after another. It looks like new stresses have already started building up.

In the e-mail magazine two weeks ago, I clarified my intention to "explain everything without concealing anything." Yet just after having said that, an error in the reporting of the amount of oil provided to a U.S. supply vessel four years ago came to light; and despite the fact that staff of the Ministry of Defense eventually became aware of the mistake, nothing was subsequently done to rectify it.

Understandably, there is the suspicion that an attempt to cover this up was made out of concern that such information could have been damaging. I find it a matter of enormous regret that such a thing occurred in our system of defense, an area in which the people demand a particularly high standard of trust.

Even at this very moment, members of the Self-Defense Force (SDF) are performing strenuous duties in the Indian Ocean diligently. With the image of their selfless devotion in my mind, it truly grieves me to wonder how they feel about something like this happening.

A few individuals' slack attitude and loss of sincerity toward their work have caused a great deal of trouble for many Ministry of Defense officials and SDF members, and have greatly offended the people of Japan. Thus, it is absolutely essential that the circumstances surrounding this issue are completely unearthed, that those responsible are severely disciplined, and that a framework is established to ensure that officials adhere to their duties with a consistent sense of intensity.

An incident has also occurred in the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare which invites the mistrust of the people; although the Ministry had a list of people suspected of having contracted hepatitis from blood products, they ignored the list and did not do anything about it for many years.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has the duty to protect the lives and the health of the people, yet its handling of such important data concerning human lives demonstrates an extreme dereliction of duty.

There are patients who would have been able to avoid worrying about the source of infection if they had been provided with this information earlier, and patients who could have been treated earlier. Hearing the bitter voices of these people, I feel desperately sorry.

As a matter of utmost urgency, we are examining measures to be put into place for those hepatitis patients without delay.

Why on Earth have things like this happened in both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare? As someone who has been involved in politics for many years, I feel a surge of anger at my own shortcomings that might have permitted this present state of affairs, and I am fully aware of my own responsibility. First of all, I will take action, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that this sort of thing is never repeated in the future.

To work for the nation in the name of the people -- I want each and every civil servant to return to this basic principle and to rebuild the trust of the people in the administration.

I feel that being in my position at the very top of the administration at times like these is a test that has been given to me, and I am keenly aware of my mission to resolve these issues.

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (October 8 to 14, 2007)

- 50 Years of Bilateral Ties (Japan-India Friendship Year 2007)

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Nuclear Energy Disaster Prevention Drill (October 24, 2007) and others

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General Editor: Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Matushige Oono
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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