Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.15 (January 22, 2009)
"Mission and responsibility"
After the plane suddenly lost power in both engines, pilot Chesley Sullenberger judged that it would be too difficult either to return to the airport of departure or to land at a nearby airport. Instead, he decided to land on the Hudson River, which in the middle of winter was frozen over.
With hardly any time to think, Mr. Sullenberger drew on all his professional experience and self-confidence and made a snap decision. His decision saved the lives of all 155 people aboard the plane, including two Japanese passengers.
Mr. Sullenberger was the last to leave the plane, and did so only after making sure that everyone else had been rescued. He did everything he had to do right through to the end. I would like to express my heartfelt respect for his sense of mission and responsibility.
Last Monday, the Cabinet decided on the budget for fiscal 2009 and presented it to the Diet. This budget constitutes the third stage of the "three-stage rocket" of economic countermeasures, following the first fiscal 2008 supplementary budget, which is already being implemented, and the second fiscal 2008 supplementary budget, which is currently being deliberated in the House of Councillors.
The total scale of the three packages reaches 75 trillion yen. Japan shall be the first among the major developed countries to put the current recession behind it. Harboring this determination, they are indeed bold budgets. What is more, they are no less than budgets to defend peace of mind in people's daily lives and to revitalize the Japanese economy.
For example, we will raise the one-off childbirth and child-rearing allowance to 420,000 yen in order to lessen the financial burden of bearing and raising children. Also, the eligibility criteria for employment insurance will be widened in order to make it easier, against the backdrop of an increasingly severe employment situation, for workers who are non-regular employees to receive unemployment benefits. Employment insurance premiums will also be reduced. The reduction for an average household will be around 20,000 yen a year.
Moreover, we will implement tax reductions on a drastic scale. A new eco-friendly electric or hybrid car will be exempt from automobile weight and automobile acquisition taxes. Tax reductions on mortgages will be increased to a maximum of six million yen, the highest level ever. Tax breaks will also be given in cases where people use their own financial resources, not loans, to modify their homes so as to conserve energy or make them "barrier-free."
My mission and responsibility is to restore a Japan in which people can live with peace of mind and a Japan of vitality. With firm resolve, I am prepared to follow through to the end.
Mr. Barack Obama has taken office as the 44th President of the United States of America. President Obama's views follow:
The greatest challenge at present is to overcome the global financial crisis.
In his inaugural address, President Obama spoke of his recognition of the challenges, and the prescription for overcoming them. His thoughts are aligned precisely with my own ideas.
I have strengthened my conviction that as leaders of the world's largest and the second largest economies, we will be able to unite the tremendous strengths of the United States and Japan, for the prosperity of our two countries and for the development of the entire world.
I believe this to be the mission and the responsibility of the
United States and Japan as members of the international community.
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