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Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.43 (August 13 - 27, 2009)
* Next issue will be delivered on September 3, 2009.

"Safeguarding the nation, and safeguarding peace"
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Taro AsoProfile Japanese

Heavy rain and an earthquake have been causing damage in many parts of the country. I offer my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of those who have lost their lives in the disasters, and express my sympathy for those who have suffered damage.

The government will do its utmost to find those people whose whereabouts are unknown, and ensure the restoration of the afflicted regions.


"Safeguarding the nation, and safeguarding peace"

I visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 6th and 9th of this month, respectively, and attended memorial ceremonies for the victims of the atomic bombs. I offered my prayers to the souls of those who had lost their lives due to the bombs, and I have renewed my determination that the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki must never be repeated.

In consideration of the advanced age of the atomic bomb victims and the protracted lawsuit for the recognition of atomic bomb diseases, I decided that we must make a political decision -- a decision to advance support measures for those suffering from the consequences of the bombs. Subsequently, I have decided upon a new policy of granting the plaintiffs early recognition, respecting a judicial ruling.

I met with the survivors in person to express my thoughts on the matter and to explain the new policy. They were happy with this, which made me confident that I had made the right decision.

I visited Funairi Mutsumi-en, a nursing home for atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima, and the Hill of Grace Nagasaki A-Bomb Home in Nagasaki. Regardless of the hardships they must hold, everyone at the homes was so cheerful. In fact, it was I who was encouraged, receiving the gift of their vitality.

When I thought that it was the hard work of these people which sustained the prosperity that Japan enjoys today, I felt a renewed sense of gratitude. I was deeply impressed by their strengths.

"A world without nuclear weapons" is indeed a significant aspiration for humankind, and the dearest wish of Japan, the only country to have ever suffered the devastation of atomic bombings. That President Barack Obama of the United States has also expressed his views toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons is truly a magnificent development.

Toward the achievement of this goal, Japan has led the way in the United Nations in proposing a resolution on nuclear disarmament each of the past 15 years. The number of nations supporting the resolution has been on the rise, reaching more than 170 of the 193 member states.

It is vital that we stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and take one step at a time to ensure an environment to facilitate their total elimination. In this endeavor, Japan will lead the other nations of the world.

We must not forget that the peace that Japan has enjoyed in the 64-year post-war period is built upon the precious sacrifices many people made during the previous world war.

We have a responsibility to firmly maintain this peace and extend it to the rest of the world in order to respect the feelings of the many victims of the world war, including the victims of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Meanwhile, Japan is facing a clear threat in the abductions, nuclear tests, and missile launches by North Korea. This is also a reality. On the basis of the Japan-US alliance, and in cooperation with nations around the world, we will strongly call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and for resolutions of other issues as well.

I will fulfill the government's most important responsibility -- to protect the lives and property of the Japanese people -- while calmly viewing the reality. And I will establish a path toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons, a common goal of both Japan and the world, to realize eternal peace in the world.

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[Prime Minister's Week in Review]
- Headquarters for Emergency Employment and Economic Measures and other topics (July 27 - August 2, 2009)

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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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