Hatoyama Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 25 (April 2, 2010)
Yukio Hatoyama's "Yu-Ai" -- Message from the Prime Minister
Yesterday marked the beginning of the new fiscal year. I would like to express my sincere congratulations to all of you who have just advanced to a new grade or new school and those who have just become full-fledged members of society.
I am sure that you have expectations mixed with anxiety as you enter into new and unfamiliar surroundings. I hope that you will follow what you believe in, set a goal, and take on this challenge. I have great expectations for your success.
I too have renewed my determination to do my utmost to overcome this severe economic situation and achieve economic recovery. As the new government welcoming the beginning of the new fiscal year for the first time, we have resolved to make efforts based on three main policy tenets, as I stated at a recent press conference.
These consist of opening the bureaucracy, opening the nation, and opening our future.
The first tenet is "opening the bureaucracy." Of course we will stringently pursue the eradication of the practice of amakudari*, in addition to which I also want to advance exchange between the public and private sectors and have private sector persons fill leadership posts in the ministries to improve the bureaucracy by injecting the vitality of the private sector. I believe it is important to change the bureaucracy so that people can move freely from the bureaucracy to the private sector and vice versa.
Moreover, in order to achieve "a new public commons," in which we will open up areas of work which used to be considered the preserve of the public sector, we will, for example, pursue tax credits for contributions to non-profit organizations (NPOs) who will play an important role for this achievement, and other measures.
Next, for "opening the nation," one of the points is to carry out a major transfer to a country based on regional sovereignty. In order to enhance the vitality of the regions, we will comprehensively review the various obligations imposed uniformly on the regions by the national government and systems of subsidies earmarked for specified use, and build a framework in which administrative authority is entrusted to the regions.
On Wednesday, we held a meeting of the Local Sovereignty Strategy Council. I saw how Governor Toru Hashimoto of Osaka Prefecture and Governor Kiyoshi Ueda of Saitama Prefecture are working toward realizing regional sovereignty with great passion. In contrast, ministries are expressing strong resistance toward a transfer of authority and a transition from a system of subsidies to block grants. I have just issued instructions to the ministries to commit themselves thoroughly to the task.
The other point is to open Japan to the world, and Asia in particular. I will translate the East Asian community initiative into reality. I will take a strategic approach to promoting free trade and make the exchange of people more open.
By upholding the first two policy tenets, opening the bureaucracy and opening the nation, we will also be able to open the future of Japan.
In formulating this fiscal year's budget, we tried to present the public with an open budget [formulation process] through the review of government programs and, as never before, placed a bold emphasis on spending for people, such as in the form of funding for education and social security. We have also achieved openness of press conferences at the Prime Minister's Office by allowing participation by Internet journalists and freelance journalists. I hope that the people of Japan will be able to truly feel the change of government.
In many aspects we may still lack sufficient experience, but we want to build a government which can turn the clock's hands forward with greater impetus towards the future. I ask for your understanding and support.
* "Amakudari" refers to golden parachuting, i.e., the placement of
civil servants in post-retirement jobs within entities their former
government ministries supervise.
* Profile of the Prime Minister
- Committee on Fundamental National Policies Joint Meeting of Both
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