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Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.35 (June 18, 2009)

"An Agency for Consumer Affairs that gives life to the thoughts of victims"
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Taro AsoProfile Japanese

At the start of this month, when bills related to an Agency for Consumer Affairs were enacted, I invited parties involved to my office for a gathering. The holding of an event in celebration of bill enactment is an extremely rare occurrence in the history of the Prime Minister's Office. The gathering thus signifies the scale of expectation for the enactment of the bills, which had been long-awaited by those concerned.

At the gathering, a person representing a consumer group stated, "After the bills were submitted at the end of last September, I counted every single day, waiting for the start of deliberations. I started to become angry when more than 100 days went by with no sign of deliberations starting."

I too thought that the bills would be enacted earlier. However, the enactment was delayed with the opposition parties' refusal to enter deliberations. I feel sorry for the delay in the enactment of the bills.

I heard that tears came streaming from the eyes of a representative of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations when the enactment of the bills finally came into view after the deliberations moved forward. He said, "Bills on an Agency for Consumer Affairs had just never moved, no matter what efforts we made. When I thought back to that, I was really pleased."

Administrative organizations thus far placed importance on the development of manufacturers and businesses. On the contrary, the Agency for Consumer Affairs will be an administrative organization based on the completely new principle of acting with the consumers' interest considered first and foremost.

The construction of a society of peace of mind is one of my most important policy objectives, and the establishment of an Agency for Consumer Affairs forms a major element to that end.

Early enactment of the bills was our top priority as the government and ruling parties. We thus made the significant political decision to amend the bills by taking in the views of the opposition parties as much as possible. The government believes in proof above discourse, as words alone are not enough. I am proud to have brought about results.

"It is enough that only I should have to feel sorrow. For my dead son too, I hope for the establishment of an Agency for Consumer Affairs that will consolidate accident information and truly take the standpoint of the consumers." I have received letters from the bereaved families of the victims of gas water heater and elevator accidents, filled with their strong desires for the establishment of an Agency for Consumer Affairs. These heartfelt thoughts have served as a driving force for government decisions and the enactment of the bills.

With the decision to establish an Agency for Consumer Affairs supported by so many people, we will inaugurate the Agency in September this year.

The thoughts of the victims must remain in the Agency for Consumer Affairs. I pray for their repose, and vow once more to make their thoughts a starting point for the new organization, the Agency for Consumer Affairs.

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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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