Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 134 (March 25, 2004)
*** The inaugural issue of the English version ***
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
Reconstruction assistance to Iraq
The long awaited English version of the e-mail magazine is finally here. My thanks go out to the many people who have already subscribed.
Through this magazine you will learn about my ideas on various topics ranging from domestic and foreign policies to music, art and culture. I hope that you will share with me your thoughts on the themes and ideas that are covered.
Yesterday, on March 24, I met Mr. Mohammed Bahr Al Uloom, the Chairman of the Governing Council of Iraq. He came to the Prime Minister's Official Residence with a delegation of 15 officials.
Building on their diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, these people hold a burning desire to cooperate together in seeking the reconstruction of a new Iraq through the efforts of its own people.
It was very reassuring and encouraging to hear such comments as, "We want to learn from Japan about its experience in post-war recovery," "We appreciate the reconstruction assistance of Japan," as well as "We sincerely welcome the Self-Defense Force (SDF) personnel dispatched to Iraq for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance."
The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of Iraq who is from Samawah told me that the people there are warmly welcoming the SDF personnel into their community. I believe that such words of praise will motivate and heighten the sense of achievement of the SDF personnel who devote themselves to reconstruction assistance activities.
I shared with the Iraqi officials my belief that, "The Iraqi people are the key players in the reconstruction of Iraq and Japan's role is to assist their efforts," "Differences in religious beliefs or customs are not obstacles to building friendly relations between two countries" and "Iraq can continue to preserve its traditions, while making great strides forward through international cooperation."
On the other hand, terrorist attacks have taken place in Baghdad and Madrid. Terrorist groups have continued to perpetrate despicable acts of violence that kill innocent civilians. Countries around the world must stand firm against the threats of terrorists and cooperate to prevent terrorism.
In Japan, alert against terrorist threat has been heightened and all necessary measures have been taken, such as increasing the number of police officers at train stations and on trains as well as more frequent patrols of bridges and tunnels.
It goes without saying that the security authorities take robust responsive measures, but the best deterrent to terrorism is for all people to share a strong determination that such acts will not be tolerated.
In the horse race at the Kochi Race Course, Haru-urara, on a 105- race consecutive losing streak, competed for its first winning race with Japan's top jockey Yutaka Take, but unfortunately only succeeded in placing tenth among eleven horses. I believe that Haru-urara's attitude of not giving up despite being beaten race after race is one that is clearly an inspiration for us all.
Last month, I watched the movie "Seabiscuit." It is a movie based on a best-selling novel about a horse and the people who believe in him and how together they work their way to glory during the time of the Depression. It is a heart-warming movie that I recommend to all of you.
No matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, you must never lose hope and keep on trying even if you fail at the first attempt.
* The title of this column "Lion Heart" is a reference to the Prime Minister's lion-like hairstyle and his unbending determination to advance structural reform.
The Best Team
As we celebrate 150 years of U.S.-Japan relations, I am honored to contribute to this inaugural edition of the English language version of Prime Minister Koizumi's weekly cabinet email magazine. These are historic times for our two nations. Poll after poll shows that relations between the people of Japan and the United States have never been better. We increasingly eat the same food, listen to the same music, and wear the same fashions. More importantly, we enjoy the same freedoms, and share the same values. As we see symbolized with Hideki Matsui playing here in Japan this month wearing a New York Yankee uniform, we are on the same team.
As teammates, we work together for a common purpose, especially when the game is on the line. The President and the Prime Minister, our governments and our citizens all agree on what is important. We want peace and prosperity. We want security from terrorism and the threat of weapons of mass destruction. We want to fight the plagues of disease and despair. We want to foster education and enlightenment. We want human rights and human dignity for all. We want everyone to be free to think and speak and worship as they choose. We want to make the world safe for today and tomorrow, so that our children and our grandchildren will inherit a future of possibility and hope.
It won't be easy. The world remains a difficult and complicated place. The Prime Minister has shown great political courage and great moral leadership in the war on terror. We have the greatest respect for the Self Defense Forces now in Iraq working to rebuild that troubled nation, bringing hope to those in need. The United States remains committed to defending Japan from any threats to its national security. We hope our united diplomatic efforts will soon end the nuclear shadow on the Korean peninsula, and resolve the continuing human tragedy of innocent Japanese citizens abducted from their homes and still separated from their families. My government is committed to food safety and food security for everyone, and we will do everything in our power to ensure the economic and environmental wellbeing of our two nations, and the world. We will do all of this because we are allies, and because we are friends.
I believe that friendship between nations is really nothing more than the sum total of individual relationships, and that is absolutely true with the United States and Japan. Many of our citizens live and work in the other's country, and many of children study in the other's schools. My grandson was one of them. He studied at a Japanese university for a year, and in that year he fell in love with Japan. Mrs. Baker and I share that affection for this land and its people. The generosity and kindness the people of Japan have shown to us, and show to our fellow countrymen every day, has touched our hearts. It is my pleasure to offer my personal thanks, and the thanks of President Bush and the American people, to the Prime Minister and the people of Japan for your friendship and support.
* Profile of the Ambassador
- Chairman of the Governing Council of Iraq Pays Courtesy Call on
the Prime Minister (March 24, 2004)
- The United Nations Youth Ambassadors Pay Courtesy Call on the
Prime Minister (March 19, 2004)
- Prime Minister Visits Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Hiroshima Prefecture (March 13, 2004)
- Reader's Comment on the e-mail magazine is available only to the subscribers.
- Click here to make comments on administration of Japan.
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