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Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.40 (July 23, 2009)

"Dissolution of the House of Representatives -- seeking to bring about economic revival and a society which provides peace of mind to its members"
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Taro AsoProfile Japanese

Localized heavy rain in Yamaguchi Prefecture has caused significant damage to the region.

I pray for the repose of the souls of those who have lost their lives, and hope that those whose whereabouts remain unknown are discovered as soon as possible.

I immediately dispatched Minister of State for Disaster Management Motoo Hayashi and others to the inflicted area. I instructed them to make utmost efforts for the rescue of the people whose whereabouts are unknown, and for the restoration and reconstruction of the region.


"Dissolution of the House of Representatives -- seeking to bring about economic revival and a society which provides peace of mind to its members"

On the 21st, I decided to dissolve the House of Representatives and seek a popular mandate. This is to clarify responsibility for governing, aiming to safeguard Japan and the daily lives of the Japanese people.

Since assuming office, I have placed foremost priority on reviving the economy and defending people's daily lives. During this time, careless remarks I have made caused mistrust among the public and damaged its confidence in politics. I have reflected deeply on this situation. I will humbly look back upon this, and in reflection, I will fulfill my responsibilities placing importance on the thoughts of the people.

In this general election, I will make three pledges to the public. The first pledge is economic recovery. Fully turning around the Japanese economy will take three years. The economy must take highest priority. I will without fail revive the Japanese economy.

I have given priority to policy over politics and I have devoted my all to economic policymaking, in order to defend people's daily lives from the worldwide simultaneous recession that originated in the United States. In an extremely unusual situation, we have drawn up four budgets in a little over six months. We have finally come to see signs of economic recovery as a result of these efforts.

However, the business performance of small and medium enterprises and the employment situation remain weak. Household finances are also facing difficult circumstances. We have only reached half-way. It would simply not do for me, having dedicated myself to this single area of economic countermeasures, to abandon the duties of Prime Minister until solid economic recovery has been achieved.

My second pledge is to bring about a society which provides peace of mind to its members. Various kinds of anxiety surround our daily lives, such as those over employment and child-raising, pensions and medical care, and the widening of economic and other disparities. The society providing peace of mind which I seek to achieve will give dreams to children, hope to the young, and peace of mind to the elderly. I will accelerate policies to bring about a society without anxieties over employment, old age, or child-raising. To do this, I will break from excessive market fundamentalism.

In particular, with regard to employment, we are safeguarding the employment of some 2.4 million workers by partially covering the cost of wages for companies that do not fire employees. In addition, for individuals who do not qualify for unemployment insurance benefits but are motivated and endeavoring to attain new skills and abilities through job training, we will provide a social safety net for their daily lives as they undergo this training. We will also improve working conditions for people employed part-time.

To address the low birthrate, we have introduced subsidies so that all maternity checkups are now provided without charge. Furthermore, we will work to ensure that all education for children before enrollment in elementary school is provided free of cost.

To achieve these goals, funding will be necessary. I have said that once the economy recovers, we will appeal to the public to accept a fundamental reform of the tax system, including a rise in the consumption tax rate, to cover these costs of social security and of countering the low birthrate.

As a prerequisite for making such a request to the public, we will first conduct bold administrative reforms. We will reduce the number of National Diet members and civil servants, eradicate amakudari/watari [the practice of civil servants obtaining posts in related organizations after retirement from public service/hopping from one such job to another], and eliminate government waste.

A tax increase is unpleasant for everyone. However, we must refrain from passing on our generation's borrowing to our children and grandchildren. To do so is to govern with responsibility, in my view.

In order to defend people's daily lives, I pledge to bring about economic revival and a society which provides peace of mind to its members. The upcoming general election is an election upon which the creation of a society that provides peace of mind hinges. The people will be asked to judge who has the capacity to take responsibility. If the pledges I made go unfulfilled, I shall take responsibility. That is my third pledge.

We must carry out the responsibilities of governing. Towards that end, I declare to all of you that I will lead the way and fight to the very end.

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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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