Hatoyama Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 21 (March 5, 2010)
Yukio Hatoyama's "Yu-Ai" -- Message from the Prime Minister
The magnitude 8.8 earthquake that hit Chile last weekend was of an enormous scale. Close to 800 people lost their lives in the disaster area. I would like to convey my heartfelt condolences.
On receiving the first report of the earthquake, I immediately issued instructions to hasten information gathering on the earthquake disaster such as confirming the safety of Japanese nationals residing in Chile as well as preparations to take immediate action in case rescue assistance was needed. As I just received word that all Japanese nationals residing in the disaster area were confirmed safe, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I had a telephone conversation with President Michelle Bachelet Jeria of Chile in the evening of March 3, conveying my condolences and sympathy. I also told her that Japan was ready to offer as much assistance as possible. The President requested assistance in the medical field, in response to which we are currently hurrying consideration on this matter.
On Sunday, the day after the earthquake, the Chief Cabinet Secretary and the Minister of State for Disaster Management, aiming to take all possible means to ensure the safety of those living in areas where a tsunami was expected to hit following the earthquake, consulted via television conference with relevant prefectural governors measures to minimize damage to the greatest extent possible. Through thorough provision of information, among other measures, the relevant ministries and agencies responded as one.
Tsunamis of more than one meter high were observed in various places in Japan. While there was some serious damage to the mariculture industry, I am truly grateful that no people were hurt thanks to the tsunami measures that the government and local authorities took in unison. Building on this experience, the government intends to improve disaster measures by further enhancing collaboration with local authorities.
The fiscal 2010 budget passed the House of Representatives this week. We are now another step closer to realizing the "budget to protect human life," which was formulated on the principle of "not spending on concrete, but on people."
This budget includes many policies relating to the people's daily lives that we pledged in our Manifesto to implement, including those earmarked for child-rearing support such as the child allowance and free high school education [at public schools], as well as for reviving medical care and nursing care.
The budget is now being deliberated at the House of Councillors,
and I will thoroughly engage myself in discussions at the Diet for
its early enactment.
* Profile of the Prime Minister
- Local Sovereignty Strategy Council (March 3, 2010) and other topics
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