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Fukuda Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.8 (November 29, 2007) ============================================================

"The colder weather is setting in. This is Yasuo Fukuda."
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Yasuo FukudaProfile Japanese

The colder weather is setting in. This is Yasuo Fukuda.

Now that the leaves have yellowed on the ginkgo trees in the vicinity of the National Diet Building, we are getting a strong sense of the impending arrival of winter. The cold has suddenly grown more severe, and there was record snowfall for November in the Hokkaido and Tohoku regions last weekend.

Recently, I have been garnering opinions from many readers on the rising price of gasoline and kerosene.

Due to the substantial rise in the price of crude oil that has been seen around the world, the price of an 18-liter container of kerosene has risen by approximately 200 yen compared with a year ago and has reached 1,600 yen in some regions of Japan. Similarly, the average price of gasoline across the country has increased to over 150 yen a liter for the first time in 24 years.

People living in the cold regions of the country such as Hokkaido need a heated stove all day in the wintertime. For those engaged in the fisheries, greenhouse agriculture, and the trucking industry, fuel costs have become a very large expense.

Rising fuel prices are thus having a direct impact on these people's lives, and they can also exert a major influence on the business operations of many small and medium enterprises. In view of this situation, I am concerned that many people may be feeling uneasy about the future.

The Government is making efforts to hold back the rise in the crude oil price by requesting that the oil-producing countries increase their oil production. However, the price is showing no sign of decline because of diverse and complex factors, including an inflow of speculative capital into the market.

On our part, the Government must consider taking finely-tuned measures, beginning with financial support for self-employed individuals and small and medium enterprises suffering as a result of the high price of crude oil. As the full brunt of winter will soon be upon us, I am going to set in place measures in coordination with the ruling parties and implement them as soon as possible.

Last Friday, the supply ship Tokiwa of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF), which I talked about in a previous e-mail magazine, returned to Japan from the Indian Ocean. I am sure that many of you saw that event on TV.

Once again, I must state that I am proud of the MSDF members who steeled themselves against the scorching conditions on the Indian Ocean, and admirably accomplished their mission. I would also like to express my appreciation to them for the burden they bore. At the same time, I regret that we had no choice but to discontinue their activities even though the fight against terrorism still goes on.

Deliberations on the new bill on anti-terrorism measures began yesterday in the House of Councillors. I am determined to explain in the House of Councillors, in the most comprehensible manner possible, the necessity of Japan continuing the refueling activities. I will make my utmost efforts to expedite the passing into law of the bill at the earliest possible date.

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister Fukuda visits the United States (November 15 to 17, 2007)

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (November 12 to 18, 2007)

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Japan-Viet Nam Summit Meeting (November 27, 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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