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Fukuda Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.12 (Dec. 27, 2007 - Jan. 3, 2008) ============================================================
* Next issue will be delivered on January 10, 2008.

"The final message for the year. This is Yasuo Fukuda."
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Yasuo FukudaProfile Japanese

The final message for the year. This is Yasuo Fukuda.

The day before yesterday, I met the representatives of the patients involved in a lawsuit related to hepatitis contraction through blood products.

"I had to give up my job because of the side effects of the treatment."
"All my hopes and dreams for the future were dashed by the disease."
"We never even did anything wrong."

I can barely imagine the years of mental and physical suffering endured by those who contracted the disease. No words can describe the hardship they have had to bear.

It is the duty of the Government to protect people's lives, and yet the Government, to date, has not squarely faced up to the suffering of those patients. With this thought foremost in my mind, I offered my heartfelt apologies to all those patients who had contracted the disease.

A tragedy of disease contraction through biomedical products must never be allowed to happen again.

Within the settlement talks framework established by the Osaka High Court, I have been examining what is the absolute maximum that can be done to redress this situation.

I have determined that the only way to meet as soon as possible the plaintiffs' compelling demand for uniform compensation, and thereby reach settlement, is to use legislative means that go beyond the judiciary and the administration. I have thus instructed the ruling parties to draw up a bill to ensure uniform compensation.

I will make dedicated efforts toward ensuring that the task of drawing up the bill, which the ruling parties are currently working on, is concluded at the earliest possible juncture, and that the new legislation is passed by the Diet with all due haste. My profound wish is that this will, at least in some small measure, help to assuage the feelings of the patients who have endured so much for so long.

Today, I will depart for China. In Beijing, I will meet for talks with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Japan and China are more than mere neighbors; we share a responsibility toward Asia and toward the world. Good relations between Japan and China are, as a matter of course, in the interests of both countries, but they are important, too, for the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

The number of people who travel between Japan and China every year has now reached five million. In order to bring about further improved, future-oriented bilateral relations and a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests that will enable our countries to inspire each other and grow together, I fully intend to build up the relationship of trust at the summit level.

This is the last e-mail magazine of the year. I am very grateful to you all for taking the time to read the magazine.

Since the inaugural preparatory issue, I have received a great many opinions and ideas from readers. There have been some harsh criticisms, and there have been some warm words of encouragement. The opportunity to listen to your voices has provided much food for thought, and has been a source of energy to me for advancing policies.

Throughout the coming year, I will continue to place the utmost importance on dialogue with the people through this e-mail magazine and other fora. I am determined to continue to advance politics and push forward with policies and measures from the people's point of view.

Finally, I would like to end by wishing each and every one of you a happy and prosperous New Year.

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (December 10 to 16, 2007)

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Prime Minister Meets with the Representatives of Plaintiffs in Lawsuits related to Hepatitis Contraction through Blood Products (December 25, 2007) and others

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[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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