Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 144 (June 17, 2004)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
I arrived back in Japan from the Sea Island Summit on June 12. The Summit provided a valuable opportunity for me to have frank exchanges of opinions with the other leaders on such issues as North Korea, terrorism, Iraq and the surge in oil prices.
A new UN Security Council resolution on the transfer of sovereignty and also on reconstruction assistance in Iraq was adopted unanimously just as the leaders were preparing to meet at Sea Island.
During the Summit, I had a chance to talk with President Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar of the Iraqi Interim Government. He had warm words of appreciation for Japan's efforts in the reconstruction of Iraq. He told me that the people of Iraq welcome and truly appreciate the activities of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in Samawah. He expressed his hope that the SDF will continue their assistance activities.
On my part, I stressed the importance of the Iraqi people themselves taking the initiative in rebuilding their country, stating "It is the Iraqi people and the Iraqi people alone who can bring about the reconstruction of Iraq. I expect the Iraqi people to overcome the confrontation between the pro-US and anti-US elements, the ethnic and religious differences, and channel their collective energies into the reconstruction of their country. The US, UK, the United Nations and many other countries and organizations are eager to lend the hand of assistance in Iraq's nation-building efforts."
The realization of a stable democracy in Iraq and its economic recovery are vital both for Japan and the entire world.
The SDF will continue to implement the humanitarian and
reconstruction assistance it has provided, now as part of
the multinational force requested by the Iraqi Interim Government
and under the unanimously adopted new UN Security Council
resolution. This assistance will comply with the following four
The issues of North Korea and Iraq are important for Japan and also for the world. While continuing with its own efforts to address these issues, Japan must work in hand with the international community towards their resolution.
The 150-day regular Diet session came to a close on June 16. The Government submitted a range of important bills during the session, such as the bills to privatize the four highway public corporations. Many crucial bills were enacted in this Diet session with the support of the people of Japan, and through the cooperation of the ruling party coalition, as well as with the cooperation of the opposition parties for such bills concerning measures to protect the rights of the people and secure evacuation in emergency situations.
There was confusion in the voting process on the bills on pension reform. With a declining birthrate and aging population, however, this was not a reform we could put off any longer if we are to maintain a sustainable pension system based on mutual support between the young and the old.
The passage of these bills represents a significant step forward for pension reform. I will continue reforms toward a better social security system by improving the operation of the pension system and initiating a joint study towards the future unification of pension plans by both the ruling and opposition parties.
On the economic front, bright signs are emerging at last. I believe it is my responsibility to ensure that these bright signs permeate through to the regions and to small and medium-sized enterprises, and that my role is to nurture the "buds of reform" into "a large tree."
We must build a society in which with knowledge and ingenuity, every individual, company and region can, through hard work and motivation, earn their due reward.
It is exactly three years since we first published the Japanese version of this e-mail magazine in June 2001. I truly appreciate and hope to continue a dialogue through this e-mail magazine. I am eager to hear your opinions and views and will give my best to ensure that this e-mail magazine meets your expectations.
* 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 significance of the EU's partnership with Japan
by Ambassador Bernhard Zepter, Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Japan
The initial purpose of European integration was essentially to secure peace and stability after so many wars in Europe. This June, the D-Day commemorations in Normandy remind us that for both Japan and the European Union our alliance and partnership with the US remains essential for ensuring our respective security. The European Union and Japan may primarily be perceived as economic giants but this should not prevent us from actively pursuing our political goals, by promoting partnership for stability, and operating substantial aid programmes to alleviate poverty in the world. Japan and the European Union share fundamental values, including our common responsibility for the well-being and stability of mankind and the planet on which we live. To this effect we should enhance our cooperation to sustain the world's economic growth and to overcome the barriers that impede investment and trade. Let us work together to bring the WTO Doha round to a successful conclusion and to jointly deal with our dramatic vulnerability regarding the supply of energy.
The moment also has come for a decisive push for the implementation and enforcement of the international agreements for the protection of natural resources and the environment. There might well be a case for some updating and fine-tuning, because of economic cycles and scientific progress, but we must not be distracted from this very urgent goal.
After its enlargement the European Union is much aware of the necessity to develop its relationships with the neighbouring countries on its new borders to the east and the south. The discrepancy in prosperity between the Union and its neighbours as well as geopolitical factors justify the EU's concern to prevent new divisions and to promote stability by offering its neighbours a share in various EU activities and their economic benefits. Similarly, good relations between Japan and its neighbouring countries contribute to stability in Asia.
Early next week President Prodi of the European Commission and Prime Minister Ahern of Ireland representing the EU presidency will come to Japan to attend the EU-Japan Summit with Prime Minister Koizumi. The summit is an auspicious occasion for taking stock and agreeing on more common action based on the EU-Japan Action Plan adopted in December 2001. 2005 is to be a very special year for the people of Japan and the people of the Member States of the European Union, as we intend to promote exchanges at all levels and nurture mutual curiosity and understanding. This should make the respective citizens on both sides more aware of the importance of this partnership and the way it contributes to making the world a better place.
- "e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2004" (June 15, 2004)
- G8 Summit Meeting (Sea Island Summit)(June 8 to 10, 2004)
- Statements, during the Sea Island Summit (June 9 to 10, 2004)
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