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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 158 (October 7, 2004)

[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Celebrating the achievement of an astounding record

Junichiro Koizumi here.

Yesterday, on the night of October 6, I left Haneda airport on the government plane bound for Hanoi, Viet Nam, where leaders of Asian and European countries will assemble to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

The meeting has grown in scale to include 38 participating countries, as we welcome this time the three countries of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar newly joining the meeting from Asia, as well as ten countries from Europe, including Poland, which are the new members of the European Union (EU).

Over the course of the next three days, the leaders of Asian and European countries will discuss in detail various issues covering politics, economy and culture and in so doing deepen the friendly and cooperative relations that exist among Asian and European countries.

This is my second visit to Hanoi since becoming prime minister, and it is a vibrant and constantly developing city. Although my schedule here is a constant stream of meetings from early in the morning till late into the night, if at all possible I would like to find a little time to walk around the streets of Hanoi and its environs.

The new Koizumi "Reform Implementation" Cabinet moved into action immediately after its inauguration.

On October 5, the first meeting of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Privatization of the Postal Services was held. We will formulate a bill on privatization based on the Basic Policy on the Privatization of the Postal Services which was decided at the Cabinet meeting in September. After the deliberation of the bill in the Diet, postal services will be privatized in April 2007.

The reform package of the three issues that promotes subsidy reform, transfer of tax sources and review of local allocation tax, under the concept of "leaving to the localities what they can do," is also reaching a critical stage.

The comprehensive review of the social security system, including medical care and the long-term care system, as well as the pension issue on which many of you have provided us with your opinions, has already been initiated with the participation of experts from economic and labor circles, local governments and academia.

The extraordinary session of the Diet will start next week when I return from Viet Nam. While the bills necessary for reform will be discussed in the Diet, I will continue to strive to achieve "reform implementation."

I have been astounded at the great performances of Japanese athletes in the sporting world of late.

Major League Baseball player Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners is a truly great player and athlete. He has succeeded in topping a Major League record that remained unbroken for over 80 years. In addition to his prodigious natural talent, his results are due to continued efforts that would be difficult for us to imagine. I cannot congratulate him enough on his remarkable achievement.

Japanese athletes have won a record number of medals at the Paralympic Games which took place after the Olympic Games in Athens. Their performances were amazing. The Paralympic athletes are scheduled to visit my office at the end of this month, and at that time I will be expressing my admiration and congratulations for their achievements.

Autumn is a season for sports, reading and also one when the appetite increases. I hope that all of you will have an enjoyable and meaningful autumn.

* 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.

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Governor of Al-Muthanna Pays Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (October 5, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi received a courtesy call from Mr. Mohammad Ali-Hassan, the Governor of Al-Muthanna in Iraq.

- Headquarters for the Promotion of Privatization of the Postal Services (October 5, 2004)
The first meeting of the Headquarters was held and Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his determination to advance the privatization of postal services.

- The Thirteenth Meeting of the Council on Security and Defense Capabilities (October 4, 2004)
At the meeting, a report entitled "Vision of Security and Defense Capabilities for the Future" was compiled.

- Prime Minister Appoints Parliamentary Secretaries (September 30, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi delivered the letters of appointment to the parliamentary secretaries of the reshuffled second Koizumi Cabinet.

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General Editor: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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