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Hatoyama Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.16 (January 29, 2010)

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

Prime Minister HatoyamaProfile Japanese

"Visiting the regions"

I visited Tochigi Prefecture last weekend.

The Diet being in session now, I decided to visit various places in Japan on the weekends to hear first-hand the people's voices, because I thought that a life of just going back and forth between my official residence and the Prime Minister's Office and the Diet would make me lose sight of the people's lives.

The first place I visited was the JA Hagano Mashiko Tourism Strawberry Farm in Mashiko Town, where I tried some ripe Tochiotome strawberries in a plastic greenhouse. The fresh sweetness of the strawberries is something you can only taste there. I reaffirmed the potential of a tie-up between agriculture and tourism for community revitalization.

At the Cooperative Marketing Center of Mashiko-style Pottery, I bought a Mashiko-style "guinomi" (a large Japanese sake cup). Mashiko-style pottery is a famous local product. I also heard the passionate voices of those who want to project the Mashiko brand overseas.

The Hatoyama Cabinet is committed to the realization of regional sovereignty so as to create vibrant local communities where decisions on regional matters are taken by the local residents. Looking at people hard at work in the regions gives me confidence that we are headed in the right direction and makes me feel that we want to move even further with them.

I also visited a company in Kanuma City that manufactures state-of- the-art equipment for dental work. I felt reassured that I can go for dental work with a light heart upon hearing that new equipments are constantly being developed that allow us to receive less stressful treatment.

While visiting a nursery school in Utsunomiya City that opens until 10 p.m., I felt that this facility must truly be a godsend for working mothers. I also visited a hospital where the staff work hard to take away the physical and mental pain of their hospitalized elderly patients to raise their quality of life as much as possible.

I saw for myself the situation of a lack of nursery schools, the actual daycare scene where highly attentive care for babies and children is demanded, issues that exist between nursing and medical care systems, and the tough environment nurses and care staff work in. I also heard directly the opinions of the people at each site. It was a day that strongly impressed on me that we still have much to do and that we must reflect the people's voices in our policies.

I will continue to visit various regions and make efforts to close the distance between the local situations and policies.

This Monday, the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2009 passed the House of Representatives and deliberations on the budget at the House of Councillors are now in the final stage*. Taking into consideration the opinions I heard during my latest visit to the regions, I will pour all my efforts into realizing and implementing policies and budgets that truly contribute to the people's lives.

* The second supplementary budget for fiscal 2009 passed the House of Councillors and thus has been enacted on Thursday, January 28, the date when the Japanese version of this e-mail magazine, which is the original version, was delivered.

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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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