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Hatoyama Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 6 (November 13, 2009)

Yukio Hatoyama's "Yu-Ai" -- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister HatoyamaProfile Japanese

Together with the people of Japan, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on the 20th anniversary of His Majesty's accession to the throne.

I pray from the bottom of my heart for the health of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, who have always walked with and whose hearts have been one with the people of Japan, and for the prosperity of the Imperial Family.


"Trust and ties with the Mekong region countries"

Almost two months have passed since the launch of the new government. Since I assumed the office of Prime Minister, I have actively attended summit meetings with leaders of various nations as well as international conferences attended by national leaders. At the end of last week, on November 6 and 7, I chaired the first Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting in Tokyo. On that occasion, I also held bilateral talks with the leaders of the Mekong region countries -- Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen of Cambodia, Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh of Laos, Prime Minister Thein Sein of Myanmar, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Viet Nam -- and exchanged various views with them.

Some people may wonder what the Mekong is. The Mekong refers to the Mekong River, a mighty river spanning 4,800 km which flows from the Tibetan highlands through China, along the borders separating Myanmar and Laos as well as Thailand and Laos, to Cambodia, Viet Nam and the South China Sea. The abundant foods grown in the fertile land and rich nature along the river are treasures of the Mekong region countries.

Exchanges between Japan and the Mekong region countries go back more than 400 years. In recent years, exchanges have become particularly frequent in various areas such as politics, economy, youth, culture, and tourism.

However, various types of disparities remain within the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the Mekong region countries. I believe Japan plays an extremely important role as regional cooperation is proceeding in order to redress them. The East Asian community initiative that I have been advocating cannot be realized without correcting, as much as possible, the gaps in politics, economy, and awareness within the Asian region. Japan and the Mekong region must build a cooperative relationship that will become a cornerstone of the East Asian community.

In the Tokyo Declaration adopted at the international meeting that was just held, Japan has pledged more than 500 billion yen of official development assistance (ODA) over the next three years to the entire Mekong region. However, it goes without saying that it is the contents of this assistance that are important.

At the same time, Japan must extend cooperation freely, not only centered on economic assistance, but also to construct a peaceful and stable political structure in the region. I expressed my strong desire to Prime Minister Thein Sein of Myanmar for the progress of democratization and, to that end, for all concerned, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, to be able to participate in the 2010 general election. If Japan's involvement, not limited to economic cooperation, in countries in which the democratization process has not advanced sufficiently can lead to the region's stability and, by extension, the peace and stability of the world, Japan's presence will increase significantly.

During my talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, upon approaching him with an offer to invite young middle-ranking bureaucrats including his son, Director Hun Manet of the Counter Terrorism Department, the Ministry of National Defense, to Japan by the end of this fiscal year, Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked me haltingly with tears in his eyes, saying "I am grateful especially because his was a difficult, struggling birth." I caught a glimpse of a parent thinking about his child in the incumbent Prime Minister of 25 years and I myself was moved in turn. I was able to build ties of trust with the leaders of the Mekong region countries in the final days of last week.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting will be held in Singapore this weekend. As Japan's Prime Minister, I will firmly convey the role Japan will fulfill in the world as well as the significance of that role.

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General Editor: Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yorihisa Matsuno
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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