Hatoyama Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 3 (October 23, 2009)
Yukio Hatoyama's "Yu-Ai" -- Message from the Prime Minister
A month has passed by in a flash since I assumed the office of Prime Minister on September 16. I have put forth my best efforts and I would be very happy if the public feels that something is different from politics before or that politics is beginning to change.
Conventionally, politics had been conducted on a stage arranged by bureaucrats for ministers to speak verbatim from a prepared script. In that sense, there may have been fewer occasions when the Cabinet members' views were inconsistent. However, as a result of leaving politics up to bureaucrats, the people's voice was not necessarily reflected into politics.
The new government will make a major shift from this bureaucrat-led government to a government that takes the people's voice into account. Politicians, centered on the three political-level appointees -- the minister, vice-minister, and parliamentary secretary -- are the driving force of this major change.
We are still at a stage of trial and error, inexperienced. That is why the ministers' views sometimes disagree. I do not think it is bad to expose this situation because by exposing it we can demonstrate the transparency of discussions to the public. The important thing is to reach a consensus under the leadership of politicians, at a Cabinet meeting, where the final decision is made, while paying due respect for the people's will.
For example, it had been the ministers' job to secure as much budget as possible when it was being formulated. Our focus is on the exact opposite -- to eliminate waste. The ministers are now acting as "budget re-evaluation ministers" to spur each ministry on to cut thoroughly waste from the budget.
Consequently, we were able to halt more than 2.9 trillion yen in budget execution at the Cabinet decision on the overhaul of the supplementary budget last week. The money saved will be used effectively for policies truly useful for the people's daily lives and in areas that will contribute positively to the economy.
While prioritizing the realization of items committed to the public in the Manifesto, we will thoroughly eliminate waste, such as unnecessary, non-urgent projects, in formulating the fiscal 2010 budget.
In particular, the Government Revitalization Unit will disclose the process of scrutinizing public projects and clarify waste in the budget. Local governments that have gone through this process have already achieved around a 10% budget reduction effect. Additionally, we will cut into special-purpose budget accounts and limit the issuance of deficit-financing bonds as much as possible.
Turning our eyes to the economy, Japan's economic climate is still in a severe situation with a high unemployment rate. Just recently, the government announced Japan's poverty rate for the first time. It was at a high level of 15.7%. Previously, the government did not announce such undesirable statistics. However, we have decided to make a point of doing so because by disclosing such information, we can create countermeasures together with the people.
As the year end approaches, I will firmly take action on employment measures, the most important issue for the people. Specifically, the Headquarters for Emergency Employment Measures which I chair will formulate tangible emergency employment measures and carry them out.
The Hatoyama Cabinet's policy on national finances is "from
concrete to people, people, people." We will change the budget from
one which focuses on public works to one that will safeguard
people's employment and daily lives. Keep your eyes on us!
* Profile of the Prime Minister
- Joint Press Conference by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan and President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea (October 9, 2009)
- The Prime Minister Visits the ROK and Attends the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting in Beijing (October 9 - 10, 2009)
- First Meeting of the Government Revitalization Unit (October 22, 2009) and other topics
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