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Fukuda Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.13 (January 10, 2008) ============================================================

"Happy New Year. Let's make this a good year. This is Yasuo Fukuda. "
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Yasuo FukudaProfile Japanese

Happy New Year. Let's make this a good year. This is Yasuo Fukuda.

How did you spend the New Year holiday? Besides attending Their Majesties' New Year Reception at the Imperial Palace, I enjoyed three quiet days with my family and relatives.

Japan will host the G8 Summit this year. On January 4, my first day back at work, I unveiled the Summit logo mark.

The overarching theme of this year's Summit is that of global environmental issues, such as global warming. The design that was chosen for the logo mark is a motif of fresh sprouting leaves, a collaborative work created by five high school students from the Mie Prefectural Hokusei Kirara Gakuen School for Children with Special Needs.

The logo expresses its creators' wish for "the Earth to forever remain a beautiful planet covered in lush greenery." Rising above the barrier of language, this motif is a powerful message to the entire world.

Japan is a nation with an abundance of beautiful nature and we boast the world's most advanced technology in the environmental and energy conservation fields. I look forward to making this Summit one that builds on these special strengths and I am sure that we can succeed, with the cooperation of many people, in doing so.

After unveiling the logo mark, I went to Ise Shrine. There, a local reporter asked me if the fact that regulations governing food labeling have been established by several ministries -- including the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry -- has made it difficult for the people to understand the issue.

Indeed, some parts of the administration are structured in a way that, from the viewpoint of the people, may seem difficult to understand.

As there are many different organizations in charge of similar matters, you may easily get confused at which division to make your inquiry. There may also be cases in which officials neglect to specify the agencies to which inquiries should be redirected. Given this situation, we have to acknowledge that the structure of the administration has not been designed with the people in mind.

The pension issue, for example, has arisen as a result of various problems that have piled up over a period of 40 years, including the careless management of pension records, those being the vitally important information about payments made by the people. These problems occurred precisely because the administration did not take into account the perspective of the people.

As Japan truly becomes an aging society, we must build toward a safe and secure society. In order to do so, those in politics and the administration must change their mindsets and the conventional ways that things have been carried out, and instead stand in the shoes of the people and the consumers.

My wish is to make 2008 the starting year of Japan's shift toward becoming "a society in which the people and the consumers play leading roles."

This year, I intend to tackle head on the major issues directly affecting the people's lives, including the issue of incorrect food labeling as well as pensions and other social security issues, and steadfastly resolve them, one by one.

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (December 17 to 23, 2007)

- Communicating Japan's Pop Culture to the World

- WorldSkills Competition in Shizuoka (Highlighting Japan)

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Party Leaders' Debate at the Diet (January 9, 2008) 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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