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Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.37 (July 2, 2009)

"Aiming for the safety and prosperity of the nation and the people"
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Taro AsoProfile Japanese

On Sunday this week, President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea (ROK) came to Japan. This was our eighth summit meeting since I assumed the office of Prime Minister. There has been roughly one per month. Never have meetings between the national leaders of Japan and the ROK been held with such frequency. Indeed, our "shuttle diplomacy" has solidly taken root.

At the meeting, we particularly devoted time to discussing the North Korean abduction, nuclear test, and missile issues.

Since the spring, North Korea has gone ahead with a missile launch and a second nuclear test in succession. This represents a clear threat. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874, which was unanimously adopted, must be strictly enforced.

Japan led the Security Council in the adoption of this strong resolution, and will take concrete steps to implement it, including financial measures and cargo inspections. We are advancing, in all haste, preparations to submit a new law to the Diet for carrying out inspection of vessels, in order to prevent the import and export of weapons by North Korea.

At the summit meeting, President Lee and I confirmed that we would respond to the North Korean issue through even closer bilateral cooperation as well as trilateral cooperation among Japan, the ROK and the United States.

By also collaborating closely with China and Russia, we need to put strong pressure on North Korea. The international community must let North Korea realize, as a unified message, that further acts of provocation will bring no benefit.

On the other hand, we are not closing the door on resolution through dialogue. Japan will strongly urge that North Korea observe the Security Council resolution sincerely and fully, and that it take concrete action toward the comprehensive resolution of the abduction, nuclear, and missile issues.

I believe that the purpose of diplomacy is to ensure the safety and prosperity of the nation and the people.

As is clear with the North Korean issue, the safety and prosperity of Japan cannot be ensured by Japan alone. First, we must ensure an effective Japan-US alliance. We must ensure that the Japan-US security arrangements are always fully in order through the ceaseless efforts of both parties.

At the same time, Japan itself must fulfill its international responsibility in a concrete manner in order to assert its national interests and obtain cooperation from concerned nations in the United Nations and other fora of the international community.

For that matter, Japan has recently taken a step forward when the Law on the Penalization of Acts of Piracy and Measures against Acts of Piracy was enacted. Japan, like many other countries, has dispatched inter alia destroyers of the Maritime Self-Defense Force to waters off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, in order to protect Japanese lives and property from pirates. With the enactment of this law, it is now possible for us to help foreign vessels, regardless of their nationality.

I also received warm praise from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines, who visited Japan the other day. In fact, more than 70 percent of sailors on oceangoing Japanese vessels are from the Philippines.

In Somalia, civil war and unrest have continued for almost 20 years, and the people there are facing unimaginable hardship. We are making our utmost efforts in providing support for stability in areas such as improving public safety and creating jobs. The activities of the Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard, and the support for public safety and people's livelihood in Somalia and its neighboring countries are like two wheels of the same axle.

I will continue to take concrete action for the realization of diplomacy to safeguard the safety and prosperity of the nation and the people.

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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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