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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 162 (November 4, 2004)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Mourning the loss of a young life to terrorism

Junichiro Koizumi here.

It is most regrettable that the life of Mr. Shosei Koda, who was taken hostage in Iraq, was lost in an act of terrorism. I am outraged at such an inhumane and contemptible act that took the invaluable life of an innocent young man.

I pray for the repose of Mr. Koda's soul and offer my sincere condolences to his family.

From the start of the hostage incident, the Japanese government made every possible effort to rescue Mr. Koda, requesting cooperation from the Iraqi Interim Government and other countries concerned as well as the Iraqi people, who understand Japan's good intentions and are supportive of and cooperative in its activities in Iraq. It is terrible that despite such efforts the hostage incident ended in tragedy.

It has been almost two weeks since the Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake. Although the aftershocks have subsided somewhat, they still persist and together with the incessant rainy weather adding to their unease, the people affected by the disaster must pass their days unsettled with uncertainty.

Restoration operations and assistance activities are being pursued around the clock, not only by the government and local organizations but also by private companies and volunteers. New problems are emerging due to the prolonged stays at shelters.

The Self-Defense Forces (SDF) erected 800 tents for those affected, and plan to erect an additional 4,000 tents to accommodate approximately another 24,000 people. They have also started providing assistance for cooking and bathing, and a total of 23,000 people have utilized the bath facilities set up by the SDF as of October 31.

I am encouraged to hear that there are over 9,000 volunteers who are utilizing their unique and specialized skills, knowledge and ingenuity in providing various kinds of assistance in response to people's needs. There are people who have delivered supplies on motorbikes, others who have erected tents for the people affected so that they could have a little more space to relax, a group of people giving back and foot massages and young people who read story and picture books to children in the shelters.

I mentioned last week in this e-mail magazine the predicament of the local government officials in charge of disaster prevention who are working arduously to help the residents in need. Approximately 1,600 people in charge of disaster prevention at local governments across the country have gathered in the disaster area to lend a helping hand.

The government, with the people's cooperation and assistance, will employ all possible means for the restoration and reconstruction of the area damaged by the earthquake and enable the lives of local residents to return to normality and peace of mind as soon as possible.

* 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]

- Japan-Kenya Summit Meeting (November 2, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi and Mr. Mwai Kibaki, the President of Kenya confirmed that the two countries will further enhance their cooperative relations to a broader range of areas.

- Japan-Nigeria Summit Meeting (November 2, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi and Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, the President of Nigeria exchanged opinions on the development in Nigeria.

- Japan-Estonia Summit Meeting (November 1, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Mr. Arnold Ruutel, the President of Estonia, and noted his expectation for the accession of Estonia to the EU to be beneficial to the bilateral relations of Japan and Estonia.

- Prime Minister Koizumi Visits the Bank of Japan (November 1, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi visited the Head Office of the Bank of Japan which started the issuance of new bank notes.

- TICAD Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference (TICAD-AATIC) (November 1, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi expressed Japan's intention to provide assistance for the development of industrial infrastructure and enhancement of competitiveness of the African countries.

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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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