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Fukuda Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.6 (November 15, 2007) ============================================================

" Safety and security first. This is Yasuo Fukuda."
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Yasuo FukudaProfile Japanese


Safety and security first. This is Yasuo Fukuda.


There has recently been a marked drop in the number of housing starts, and I am sure many of you have heard that this may have a negative impact on the economy.

Since July of this year, the number of construction authorizations, which are required before residential building work can begin, has fallen by approximately 30 percent as compared to last year's figures. This is due to a change in the law that went into effect on June 20, requiring more rigorous housing safety inspections at the design stage.

When one recalls the destruction wrought by disasters such as the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, there can be no doubt of the need for strict verification of the safety of residential buildings. Despite this, there have been a number of cases of falsification of data on earthquake resistance; this is absolutely unacceptable.

It was only very recently that this problem surfaced, arousing people's deep anxieties. Some individuals in the construction industry flagrantly ignored safety considerations, while thinking only of their own profits; at the same time, municipal offices and other branches of the administration showed themselves to be lacking the sufficient awareness required to protect the people's safety and security.

During last year's ordinary session of the Diet, the Government acted to thoroughly enhance this awareness from the ground up by establishing the Basic Act for Housing, which clearly sets out the importance of safety. In addition, a fundamental review of the Building Standard Law was undertaken with a view to ensuring the safety and security of the people as the top priority.

In the previous e-mail magazine, I stated that those in politics and the administration must change their mindsets away from placing more focus on manufacturers, and instead share the standpoint of the consumer and the people.

I then committed the Government to a comprehensive review of all laws and systems from the people's perspective. Indeed, the review has already commenced under the direction of Minister of State Fumio Kishida.

This in-depth review could lead to negative repercussions like the current slump in housing starts. Nevertheless, I believe that the most important thing is to work from the viewpoint of the consumer and the people to ensure everyone's safety and security, while clarifying any ambiguities that may temporarily arise.

This evening, I will depart for the United States (U.S.) on what will be my first overseas visit since assuming the office of Prime Minister.

A good bilateral relationship with the U.S. is extremely important for advancing diplomacy with Asian countries as well. I intend to hold a frank exchange of opinions with President George W. Bush, not just over Japan-U.S. relations, but also over the future of Asia.

I am resolved to use my time there to further strengthen the relationship of trust between Japan and the U.S.

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[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (October 29 to November 4, 2007)
http://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/prg/prg1475.html

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[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Prime Minister Attends Meeting of Nation's Prefectural Governors
(November 14, 2007) and others
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/hukudaphoto/index_e.html

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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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