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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 170 (January 6, 2005)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Immense Tsunami in the Indian Ocean

Junichiro Koizumi here.

A Happy New Year to all of you.

I believe last year was an eventful and exhausting year for many of the people of Japan, particularly those who suffered great damages from typhoons, earthquakes and torrential rains. As such, I strongly wish for those affected to overcome this hardship and start a new year with hope and even stronger determination for the reconstruction of the disaster-struck regions. As the government, we will give our utmost efforts to assist the people in their restoration activities.

Many countries suffered an unprecedented level of damage resulting from the immense tsunami that followed the earthquake off the coast of Sumatra Island in Indonesia at the end of last year. Over 150,000 lives, including Japanese nationals, were lost to this disaster and there still are many whose whereabouts are unknown. Currently, there are around 5 million people in need of assistance in the disaster-struck regions.

I would like to offer my prayers for the people who lost their lives as well as sincere words of condolence to those affected in one way or another by the damages brought on by this tsunami.

I arrived in Jakarta last night to attend an emergency summit meeting concerning tsunami relief. Along with the leaders of approximately 20 countries from around the world and the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), we will discuss an emergency assistance package for the countries and regions that incurred damage from the immense tsunami. Japan will provide assistance to these countries and regions in cooperation with the UN and countries around the world.

Japan, itself, received heartwarming and benevolent assistance and aid from many countries and international organizations following the Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake. As a country, we have experienced much damage from earthquakes and tsunami. Accordingly, the Japanese government, as a member of the Asian community as well as the international community, is determined to provide the greatest level of assistance possible in the aftermath of the tsunami.

I have announced that the Japanese government will provide emergency aid of 500 million dollars to be used for the restoration of the disaster-struck regions and their people. As for our contribution in personnel, Japan dispatched an escort ship and an accompanying helicopter that was near Singapore at the time of the tsunami as part of our international disaster relief team and has also deployed disaster rescue teams on a mission to search for and rescue people in the disaster-struck regions. In addition to this assistance, Japan will dispatch Self-Defense Forces personnel to provide medical and transportation assistance.

Japan will also cooperate with the countries and organizations concerned to construct swiftly a mechanism for an early-warning system for tsunami in the Indian Ocean region by utilizing and sharing our country's expertise and technology in that field.

A decade ago, Japan experienced the devastating Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. The United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction will be held in Kobe from the 18th to 22nd of this month. On this occasion, Japan will propose the convening of a special session on the damages caused by the tsunami so as to expand the circle of assistance.

In the case of Japan, there were many people including volunteers who took the initiative over this past year in providing assistance to our disaster-struck regions. I have high expectations that not the government alone but each and every individual will also lend a helping hand to the people who have suffered damages from the earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

As we start a new year, we are entering a crucial period of whether we will be able to nurture into a "large tree" the "buds of reform" that the Koizumi Cabinet has been striving to advance.

I pledge to give my all to advancing reforms vigorously and carrying out my responsibility, while recognizing that the year 2005 will be another difficult year as we face mounting challenges on both the domestic and foreign fronts.

In concluding, I sincerely wish all of you a wonderful year ahead.

* 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]

- New Year's Press Conference (January 4, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a New Year's Press Conference and noted on the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, the privatization of postal services, Japan's diplomatic policy and other issues.

- Comments by Prime Minister Koizumi

- New Year's Reflection by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (January 1, 2005)

- Prime Minister Koizumi Sends Messages to the Leaders of the Countries Hit by the Tsunami caused by the Large-scale Earthquake off the Coast of Sumatra, Indonesia (December 28, 2004)

- Prime Minister Koizumi Sends Messages to the Leaders of the Countries Hit by the Disasters Caused by the Large-scale Earthquake off the Coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, and the Tsunami in Neighboring Countries (December 27, 2004)

- The Third Meeting of the Council on Measures for Society with Decreasing Birthrate (December 24, 2004)
The meeting compiled a concrete action plan of priority measures based on the "Outline of Measures for Society with Decreasing Birthrate."

- The Seventeenth Meeting of the Headquarters for Administrative Reform (December 24, 2004)
The meeting compiled a reform policy consisting of eight items including streamlining the government and government-related organizations and promoting administrative efficiency.

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

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