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Fukuda Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.10 (December 13, 2007) ============================================================

"Protecting the people's livelihoods. This is Yasuo Fukuda."
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Yasuo FukudaProfile Japanese

Protecting the people's livelihoods. This is Yasuo Fukuda.

In a recent e-mail magazine, I touched upon the rising price of kerosene and gasoline. Since then, prices have continued to increase.

Rising fuel prices have become a heavy burden in a wide range of areas, including the heating of agricultural greenhouses, the boiling of water for public bathhouses, and trucking. Now that the full force of winter is upon us, I can imagine that many people are distressed by the cost of kerosene for home heating.

In order to alleviate this burden, the Government decided on a set of basic policies this week. Measures to be taken under the basic policies include instituting low-interest financing for small and medium enterprises, lowering expressway tolls, and subsidizing kerosene purchases by people in cold regions who are truly having trouble getting by. I sincerely hope that subsidies will help people to keep warm throughout the winter.

I am sure that many of you have read newspaper articles or watched television news reports about the latest situation surrounding the approximately 50 million unidentified pension records. For many of these records, it has become clear that more time will be required to complete the process of identification.

What's more, it turns out that in numerous cases these unidentified records involve rudimentary mistakes, including typos and record transfer errors, on the part of the Social Insurance Agency. The further we advance in our investigations, the more it has become apparent just how slipshod work had been at the Social Insurance Agency.

Each and every one of the pension records is directly connected to the livelihood of a person. Nevertheless, the Social Insurance Agency failed to act in a manner consistent with this basic fact, which I find to be truly regrettable.

As the representative of the Government, I offer my apologies to the people for the misconduct that has gone on for many years.

I will make certain, as a matter of course, that we will conduct thorough investigations for each and every record whose owner is, at present, unidentified. I am determined to devote my efforts to ensure that we will reach a conclusion at the earliest date possible after utilizing a wide range of data sets.

Today, the Osaka High Court will present a proposal for settlement of a lawsuit related to hepatitis contraction through blood products.

For years, many infected persons and patients have been through a difficult time that has been both mentally and physically trying. I will take the judicial decision with sincerity and am prepared to make my utmost efforts to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Politics is for the people. No matter what issue they are trying to resolve, those in politics should try to see things from the point of view of the people as they go about their lives, and should advance policies based on that perspective. At all times, I act with the keen awareness that this basic principle of politics must never be neglected.

This year, influenza season has come earlier than usual. Immunization is the most important way to guard against infection. Take good care of yourselves.

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (November 26 to December 2, 2007)

- Environmental Technologies at the Tokyo Motor Show 2007
(Highlighting Japan)

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Japan-Sri Lanka Summit Meeting (December 10, 2007) and others

* Please click below to open the online magazine "Highlighting JAPAN," which introduces the main policies of the Japanese Government, as well as Japan's arts, culture, science and technology, among other topics.

[Fukuda Cabinet E-mail Magazine]

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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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