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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 179 (March 10, 2005)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Pleasure at taking time to eat together as a family

Junichiro Koizumi here.

Last week, on March 4, I met with Mr. Carlo Petrini at my office. Mr. Petrini is the proponent of the slow food movement in Italy.

It was my first time to hear the term "slow food." It is said that in contrast to "fast food," which can be easily ordered and consumed within minutes almost anywhere in the world, the "slow food" movement promotes the practice of preserving traditions and taking time to savor local specialties and cuisines of any particular region or country.

I can easily understand why this kind of movement came about in Italy -- a country replete with magnificent musical traditions and appealing cuisines.

We have many appetizing dishes and foods in Japan as well. Mr. Petrini, who has visited various regions across Japan, was particularly enamored of Japanese soba noodles and fresh fish sold at the Tsukiji market in Tokyo.

I believe food to be the basis for good health. It is important to sit down and take time to eat while enjoying a conversation with family or friends. We must realize the great value of food education on a par with intellectual, physical and moral education.

"Pleasure is when once a while fish is served, and all the children relish it, exclaiming, 'That's good!'"

This is a poem by Tachibana no Akemi, an Edo-period poet. I can picture parents smiling with pleasure as they watch their children eat with gusto the special treat of simmered fish.

On March 8, Mr. Vanderlei de Lima, a Brazilian marathon runner who won the bronze medal at the Athens Olympics, visited me at my office. His was the smiling face that remained unclouded, despite his being intercepted during the race in Athens. I was sorry when he had to drop out part-way through the marathon on this occasion, but a warm round of applause was given to him by his fans gathered along the race course.

Mr. de Lima told me that he carefully plans his practice schedule for Monday through Saturday and still runs 15km on Sundays as part of his resting day routine. I learned how difficult a sport marathon running is as many unexpected things can happen even after such intense, demanding practice.

The FY2005 budget is now certain to pass the Diet by the end of this fiscal year. I will ready myself for the Diet debate and will "be prepared at all times as if on a battlefield."

* 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]

- Winners of High School Speech Contest on Northern Territories Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (March 8, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi encouraged the winners to utilize the experience they gained from taking part in this Contest and keep up their efforts.

- Prime Minister Pays Courtesy Call on His Majesty Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia (March 7, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi offered his words of encouragement in regard to the damages caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Malaysia.

- Japan-Bosnia and Herzegovina Summit Meeting (March 4, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Mr. Adnan Terzic, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

- International President of the Slow Food International Pays Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (March 4, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi received a courtesy call from Mr. Carlo Petrini, the proponent of the slow food movement that promotes the practice of preserving traditions and taking time to savor local specialties and cuisines.

- Reception to Appreciate the Activities of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) (March 3, 2005)
In the reception, Prime Minister Koizumi addressed that volunteers' efforts and activities were indeed a great asset of Japan.

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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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