Fukuda Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.32 (May 22, 2008) ============================================================
"Why we need to establish an Agency for Consumer Affairs.
On Monday, I met the mother of Mr. Hiroyuki Joushima, a young man who lost his life as the result of a gas water heater accident, and the mother of Mr. Ryunosuke Murata, a boy who died from asphyxiation when eating konnyaku jelly, and I listened to their stories.
"If the public authorities and the companies concerned had begun to take action immediately after the first similar accidents happened, our own children would not have suffered harm" is the sort of thought that would come naturally to every parent.
"The scars we bear from losing a precious family member will remain with us as long as we live."
Mrs. Joushima and Mrs. Murata were choked with tears as they said these words to me. Confronted with their grief, I could only think that I should do all in my power to ensure that such tragedies are never again repeated.
It came to light that over-compartmentalized administration is the background to these sorts of incidents in which similar accidents are repeated: problems include a lack of clarification as to which ministry or agency should be in charge of the accidents concerned, a failure to properly deliver information on accidents to the responsible department, and a tendency for issues to be neglected for long periods.
"For my dead son's sake, I hope for the establishment of a government agency that truly takes the standpoint of the consumers."
We must not allow problems in the administration to result in any increase in the number of people suffering harm. At the earliest possible juncture, I will establish a new organization for consumer protection, which will share the perspective of the consumers: the Agency for Consumer Affairs.
Following the large-scale earthquake in Sichuan Province in China, the Japan Disaster Relief Rescue Team was the first foreign team to commence rescue work in the afflicted areas. Additionally, this week we have dispatched a Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team in response to a request from China. The medical team will carry out life-saving and treatment activities.
These Japanese rescue activities have been reported in China too, and the Chinese people have responded with many messages showing their appreciation.
With the best wishes of the people of both countries, I would like the members of the medical team to do their best to save as many lives as possible.
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