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Fukuda Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.15 (January 24, 2008) ============================================================

"Looking to the spring. This is Yasuo Fukuda. "
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Yasuo FukudaProfile Japanese

Looking to the spring. This is Yasuo Fukuda.

The National Center Test for University Admissions was held last weekend: entrance exam season is upon us.

The Prime Minister's Office was blanketed in snow yesterday. I hope the students taking entrance examinations are paying attention to their health so that they do not suffer setbacks on account of the cold weather, and that they can pass successfully through this important period. I trust that their efforts will bear fruit, and that from this coming spring they will start down the paths that will take them to their aspirations.

The ordinary session of the Diet started last Friday.

It will be the first time that budget deliberations will take place amid a situation in which the ruling coalition commands a majority in the House of Representatives while the opposition parties have control of the House of Councillors.

If the budget for the new fiscal year, which starts in April, and budget-related bills are not enacted by the end of March, a revenue shortfall will occur, resulting in a possible negative effect on road projects, as well as on social security and education budgets. I am concerned about potential implications for the people's lives.

Recently, there has been a global downturn in stock prices, and many of you must be worrying about where this is heading. Falling stock prices have been caused by the sub-prime loan problem in the United States, but its impact on Japanese financial institutions has been kept relatively small. The overall Japanese economy remains sound.

That said, given the current economic situation, any delay in the budget enactment would have a negative effect on the Japanese economy.

I will make every effort to ensure that the Diet deliberations proceed smoothly. I am sure that the opposition parties also understand the importance of this.

I will do everything in my power to see to it that the budget and budget-related bills are enacted by the end of March as scheduled, following serious discussions in the Diet between the ruling and the opposition parties, in order that an outcome that is in the best interests of the people can be obtained.

Tomorrow, I will depart Japan for Switzerland, where I will attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, also known as the Davos Forum.

As the representative of the country chairing this year's G8 Summit, I will convey to the world Japan's perspective on a host of issues including the world economy and the global environment.

* Profile of the Prime Minister

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (January 7 to 13, 2008)

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Prime Minister Answers Questions at the Plenary Sessions of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors (January 21 to 22, 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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