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Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.33 (June 4, 2009)

"Ensuring the steps toward economic recovery"
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Taro AsoProfile Japanese

The other day, I received a letter from two sisters in the sixth and fourth grades of elementary school. The letter was written on a cutely bordered, very childlike paper, in easy to read, solid characters.

"At school, our group wrote essays on the fixed-sum stipend. When listening to the other people's essays, I noticed something. That is, everyone is holding family meetings about it, and that furthermore, the topic is a bright and pleasant one."

"The children will each receive 20,000 yen. In our family, we decided to spend one tenth of that, 2,000 yen, freely, and use the remaining money to buy something that we will keep our whole lives, instead of using it up on something we will eat or things that will disappear with use. I want everyone too to use their stipend, rather than saving it on the grounds that we are in a recession, so that we can help quickly bring prosperity to the country."

I was very happy to know that the fixed-sum stipend was serving to stimulate discussion in their family.

The payment of the fixed-sum stipend had commenced in every local government by the end of May. I hope you all discuss it as a family, and use it effectively.

The supplementary budget was enacted last Friday. Contained in this budget are results of the government's utmost efforts under the current economic crisis to prevent economic activity from breaking the bottom, ease the pain of ordinary people, and tread the first steps toward future growth.

If we look at the current situation, we see that the unemployment rate in April reached the 5% level for the first time in around five and a half years, and that the ratio of active job openings to applicants fell to an all-time low of 0.46. We are certainly in no situation to relax our economic countermeasures.

Precise measures are required for the people to have a bright prospect for the future of the economy. First, I will ensure that our countermeasures for unemployment are effective, such as expansion of subsidies for maintaining employment, and enhancement of the job training and the social safety net for people undertaking the training.

Eco-points. We aim to revitalize the economy and achieve a global environment-friendly society with higher energy efficiency, by promoting the purchase of environmentally friendly home appliances. Reports are already coming from all over the country, expressing how busy shops are in shopping districts at the weekend.

Eco-cars. We see gradual effects of the tax reduction introduced in April and measures in the current supplementary budget to support the replacement of old cars with new ones. In April, for the first time, hybrid cars ranked top in the number of new vehicle registrations by the type of car, while a certain eco car is so popular that people have to wait for more than five months for its delivery.

Improved domestic demand and subsequently increased factory operations could bring positive effects on employment. In fact, some companies have announced that they would forgo their summer holiday this year. With industrial production showing a 56 year high in its growth rate, among other signs of improvement, bit by bit the silver lining is coming into view.

On Tuesday, the decision was made to hold an extended session of the Diet, in order to enact the bills relating to the supplementary budget, among other purposes. By accelerating the countermeasures underpinned by the principal and supplementary budgets of fiscal 2009, we will ensure the steps toward economic recovery.

I have received both criticism and encouragement from many people, telling me that they want the economy to recover as soon as possible. I will make my utmost efforts in response to these calls, and for the children, who will lead our future.

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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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