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Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.10 (December 11, 2008)

"What we must safeguard"
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Taro AsoProfile Japanese

Last weekend, I visited Fukue Island, one of the Goto Islands of Nagasaki Prefecture, which is a three-and-a-half hour flight, via Fukuoka, from Haneda.

On Fukue Island I visited the fishing harbor, where Japanese spiny lobsters are unloaded, as well as the barns where Goto Beef cattle, a local specialty, are raised. Shaking hands with workers in the fisheries and livestock industries, I realized that these are the hands of laboring people. What I felt was the sensation of people at work.

The Japanese word "Nariwai" carries the meaning of "works to farm staple crops." These hands were hands that had confidence in their nariwai -- works to make a living -- and pride in their endeavors.

Around a third of Fukue's residents are senior citizens. Those living on isolated islands must experience many day-to-day inconveniences. Yet, the senior citizens of Fukue Island are actively and energetically working with smiles on their faces.

I reaffirmed the importance of safeguarding people's daily lives, and my responsibility to do so.

Today, deliberations on the Bill to Strengthen Financial Functions will enter the final stage in the House of Councillors.

The Bill is to enhance lenders' lending capacities by enabling an injection of public funds to financial institutions such as regional banks. It is an important policy to smooth lending to micro-, small and medium-sized companies.

About a month has passed since the introduction of the six trillion yen package of emergency credits for micro-, small and medium-sized companies that was allocated in the first supplementary budget. During this time, credits have been provided in some 67,000 cases, totaling 1.6 trillion yen.

Recently, the total amount of funds requested by borrowers has been on the rise; about 100 billion yen in credits is being provided per day to micro-, small and medium-sized companies. Eleven business days remain this year. The balance of credits is 4.4 trillion yen, I am sure that this will be sufficient to meet demand.

If the Bill to Strengthen Financial Functions passes, two wheels of financial support measures -- one for borrowers and the other for lenders, namely, banks -- will finally set in place. This will make it possible to ensure that micro-, small and medium-sized companies have a steady cash flow as we head toward the end of the calendar year.

Economies, by their very nature, are always changing. We must continue to respond flexibly to economic conditions and changes in the situation both at home and abroad.

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General Editor: Prime Minister Taro Aso
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Jun Matsumoto
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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